Caramelizing onions are perhaps the best thing you can do to onions. Hell, in this preparation, they are probably the best vegetable ever. They may be even more impressive than most other foods. I’ve been known to fondly refer to them as the bacon on the vegetable world. They are that good.
The possibilities to use these up are nearly endless. Burgers, hot dogs, steak, rice pilaf, omelettes, and nearly anything else can all be greatly improved by the addition of caramelized onions.
After this long, slow cook, the taste of these onions is completely unlike raw onions (or even onions cooked in most other manners). Raw onions can have a harsh, biting taste. When cooked a bit, onions loose some of their harsh edge, but still have a lot of bit and pungency. But when caramelized, onions become a different thing altogether. They transform into something sweet, earthy, and aromatic. If you do it correctly, the texture contrasts between crunchy, almost burnt-but-not-quite, and soft, cooked-though goodness. What is not to like? Nothing. Nothing.
Another huge bonus is that it isn’t hard to prepare. It just takes some time, a large skillet, and some onions. There is no real trick to it, just keep the heat around medium and give it a stir every so often.
One more reason everyone should do this is that they freeze beautifully. I always make a large batch, about 4 or 5 onions worth. The cooked onions can be stuffed into ice cube trays or into small zip-lock bags and frozen until ready to use. I use the ice cube trays so that I can portion out small amounts whenever I need, for whatever I need.
4-5 onions, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the olive oil.
2. Add the onions and the salt. Reduce the heat to medium and stir.
3. Continue cooking for 15-30 minutes. Stir occasionally. As the onions cook they will reduce dramatically. What once filled the entire pan will seem to have lots of extra space at the end. I can’t give an exact time because the size and moisture content of the onions can vary. Just be sure to monitor the onions until they start to turn brown (and even a bit black in some places). Be sure to stir occasionally so that nothing burns.