The idea was simple and immediately appealing when I spotted it in the Charlotte Observer. Take a big batch of onions and, with minimal time and effort, caramelize them all at one shot. Then during the rest of the week, spark up lunches, dinners and snacks with the savory, intensely flavored onions. And are any other veggies cheaper than onions? No. This added another positive note to the idea.
A big onion lover, I put the plan into play that very night. While I had sautéed onions plenty of times I had never actually caramelized them, so I checked out a few online recipes.
I had already planned on a hamburger and salad for dinner. With my new onion treasury, I piled the hamburger high with my freshly caramelized onions. Delicious!
For next day’s lunch I sliced up some Longhorn Style Cheddar Cheese purchased in Spanish Harlem, a tangier variation of Cheddar, but much less expensive uptown. To an open face sandwich I added mayo, mustard, the cheese and a generous layer of the caramelized onions, unheated. (In Italian homes, including my grandparent’s, vegetables, especially those cooked with garlic and olive oil, are often served at room temperature). Another yummy home run!
Tonight for dinner I’m preparing pea soup made from scratch – pin a Julia Child star on me – and it’s bubbling on the stove right now, almost done. A recipe I’ve been fooling around with over time, the pea soup contains bacon, cumin, nutmeg, celery seed and cinnamon combined with the usual peas, carrots and celery. But tonight it also contains Ta-dah—heaping tablespoons of my caramelized onions…And now the soup is done. I just turned off the heat and tasted tonight’s rendition. Thanks to those sweet little old onions, it’s the most richly flavored pea soup I’ve ever made.
Tomorrow maybe I’ll try the caramelized onions with pasta, or just slather them on some crusty Italian bread, maybe with some olives or sardines or anchovies or…the possibilities go on and on.