It recently dawned on me how under-rated sauteed onions are…Last night, while cooking dinner I decided to saute some onions to top my bison burger. Well, let me just say that I’m so glad that the thought of onions crossed my mind while waiting for my bison to cook. I started with a hot pan spritzed with olive oil and a dash of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. I let the oil heat for about 45 seconds and then added in two large, beautiful sweet onions that I purchased at the Union Square Green Market earlier this week.
I tossed in a dash of balsamic vinegar and let the onions cook for about five minutes. I lowered the heat to a simmer and continued to stir the onions until they were caramelized and tender. I like my sauteed onions very well done and cook them until they start to brown. Then I tossed in a pinch of red pepper flakes and a minced clove of fresh garlic for a spicy kick. Another few minutes of simmering and these onions were ready to top by burger.
Honestly, ‘wow’ is all I have to say…I was speechless and helped myself to two more servings of the onions. Why are sauteed onions so under-rated? We just don’t seem to hear about them enough, do we? Well, I don’t at least. And to be perfectly honest with you, the idea to saute these onions came from my good friend Jennifer, who was preparing sauteed onions last weekend when I spent the afternoon cooking and baking at her fabulous apartment. Thanks Jennifer–you’ve got me on a serious sauteed onion kick.
Within minutes, my kitchen smelled wonderful with roasting onion vapors wafting through the apartment. Anyone who lives on my floor was sure to smell the heady onion aroma that fooled them into thinking I was creating a feast. I have decided to start keeping a stash of sauteed onions in my fridge for an easy go-to topping and accompaniment to any savory dish. Now, we all know sauteed onions are usually served with pierogies, which my mother is a huge fan as I recall she created these every week when I was a child, however you can enjoy sauteed onions with just about any dish.
There is a vast array of onions to choose from, but I always stick to these three:
Yellow Cooking Onions
- Can be found in net bags and are the most common in the kitchen. They are the strongest in flavor but are sure to have your eyes tearing in no time.
- These are known for their slightly sharper, sweeter flavor than yellow onions. They are most often used with Mexican dishes.
- These large, yellow onions appear to be as round as an orange. They have a high water content, therefore they spoil quickly. Spanish onions are slightly sweet and not too strong with a slight crisp.
Onions should always be cut using a good, sharp knife. Interestingly enough, you should never use a food processor to cut onions because this pulls out the liquid and makes the onions acrid and incredibly mushy.
As for the onion breath…well, you surely won’t get the stinky breath with cooked onions–that gift is only given when you bite into a raw, fresh onion.
Sauteed onions can be added to many dishes from omelets and burgers to stir-fries and meats. So, go ahead and whip up some onions for one of your dishes this weekend–let me know what you’re pairing these onions with as I’m curious to know…maybe I’ll even feature your sauteed onion recipe and dish on my website.
Happy onion cooking, everyone…try to keep those precious eyes from tearing up when slicing.