Posts Tagged ‘sweet onions’

Choosing the Right Onion

September 13, 2013

Isn’t it funny to see a post here about onions, written by someone who absolutely detests them? What’s next, a post about sprouts?( I think I would rather eat an onion than a sprout but I digress…) Onions are a necessity in cooking, and love ’em or not, I use them frequently.  While many people think an onion is an onion, I beg to differ. There are fine nuances in different types of onions, and using the right one will greatly enhance your dishes.

Onions

Yellow onions are the most common. They are also the most versatile, and work well in soups and stews, roasted meats and poultry. Although these onions are astringent, they also have a high sugar content which is released during cooking. Brown them up and they get a sweet. caramelized quality that even I enjoy.

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Personally, I like to use shallots when appropriate. They are small and clove-like, and have a milder taste than some onions. They work well in sautes, vinaigrettes, and with lighter dishes such as eggs (think quiche for example) or vegetables. The flavor is more subtle, and their diminutive size prevents onion overload.

White onions are often used in Mexican cooking. They have a strong, sharp flavor and very little sweetness. Due to their high water content, they remain crisp in salsas and stir-fries.

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Sweet onions, such as Vidalia, have very thick layers making them chief contenders for great onion rings. Try them in French Onion Soup, or gratins. Bonus: the high sugar content and low sulphur content makes them more palatable and cuts down on the stinky after effects of onion eating.

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Last but not least, my nemesis, the red onion. Long touted as the ultimate garnish for a burger, these are best for eating raw. They are sharp and pack a punch, but are a little less strong than a white onion. I have been known to surgically remove each spec of them hiding in my food before consuming it. Since I have to say something nice, I will admit that these stinkers are awfully pretty when added to salads and sandwiches. Soaking them in ice water before serving takes a bit of the edge off, by reducing the sulphur content.

Next time a recipe calls for an onion, use these guidelines to choose the type of onion that best suits your dish and your palate.

photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week: Flatbread with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese

March 5, 2013

I had a big log of goat cheese in the refrigerator, leftover from last week’s mushroom and goat cheese tarts. Looking for something more creative than the expected goat cheese salad, I stumbled upon a photo from the Kitchn for Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Flatbread. I adapted their recipe slightly to suit my own taste and fit seamlessly into the rest of the meal.

These flatbreads are a savory, flavorful dish that can be served as an hors d’oeuvres, or a light meal. Chock full of earthy flavors, and creamy textures, they are sure to please all palettes. Even I, with my strong aversion to onions, and B with her aversion to anything that isn’t fried, or didn’t originally emanate from a box, gobbled these up. They are easy to make, and worth every second. I didn’t get a photo of the finished product, as they were gone before they left the kitchen.

This is as far as I got before the kitchen was filled with hungry people!

This is as far as I got before the kitchen was filled with hungry people!

Flatbread with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese:

Slice 2 sweet onions into thin pieces. Saute them in olive oil over medium or medium low heat until they soften and start to  brown, tossing occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This should take about 10-15 minutes.

Add a little brown sugar to the pan and continue to cook the onions, stirring to ensure that they don’t burn. Carefully add a little water to the pan, to keep things from sticking, and cook another 5 or 10 minutes until the onions have completely browned, but not burnt, and the liquid has evaporated.

Set the onion mixture aside until ready to assemble the flatbreads.

To assemble:

Lay out flatbreads on a baking sheet. Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Spread some onion mixture on each of the flatbreads. Top with goat cheese. Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 7-10 minutes until they start to bubble. Cut into quarters and enjoy!!!


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