Food & Drinks

How to Caramelize Onions

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How to Caramelize Onions

Sometimes the simple things are the best, as is the case with caramelized onions. Obtained from an inexpensive and easy to find ingredient, the best caramelized onions are an excellent side dish for both meat and fish dishes, to which they give a pleasantly sweet touch.

How to Caramelize Onions

Aurelien Guichard/Flickr

The most classic method for preparing caramelized onions is in a pan. For a kilo of onions calculated use 160 grams of sugar and 250 grams of water. White onions are usually chosen for their delicate taste, but red ones are fine too.

Begin by removing the roots and top of the bulb. Peel the onions and cut them in half vertically. Then, thinly slice each half with a sharp knife.

In a large pan, add extra virgin olive oil and butter over a medium-high heat until the butter has completely melted.

Add the sliced ​​onions, salt and a pinch of pepper. Mix and cook until the onions have softened, which will take around 5 to 10 minutes.

The time has come to add the sugar and water. Continue cooking for about one hour over medium heat, continuing to turn so that the onions do not stick to the bottom.

They will be ready when they are soft and of a beautiful golden colour. The liquid must be almost completely dried.

How to Caramelize Onions in the Oven


An easy and convenient way to caramelize onions is to bake them, which makes them more digestible.

Slice the onions into very thin slices and cover a ceramic baking dish with baking paper. Arrange the slices of onions all over the surface and sprinkle with sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and mix it, so that the seasoning penetrates and covers each slice of onion.

Bake for about 30 minutes at 200 degrees. Every now and then take care to check the cooking and, if necessary, turn the onions after about 10 minutes.

Before serving, season with salt.

Sweet and Sour Borettane Onions


Another good idea for a different side dish are sweet and sour borrettane onions: small and naturally sweet, these onions can be cooked whole.

Clean them from the roots, remove the outer layer and place them in a pan with oil and butter. Sauté for a few minutes and then add a little water, sugar, balsamic vinegar, a pinch of salt and pepper.

Cover with a lid and cook for 30 minutes on a low heat. Occasionally check the cooking and, if necessary, raise the lid to evaporate the excess water, as the 'sauce' should not be too liquid, but have a nice thick and full-bodied consistency.

Caramelized Tropea Onion and Goat's Cheese

This recipe for a caramelized Tropea onion, stuffed with a tepid goat's cheese mousse, comes from Matias Perdomo of Milan's one-Michelin-starred Contraste restaurant. 

How to Caramelize Onions: Video Tutorial

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