There's no shortage of recipes out there for caramelized onions, one of the most simple utility dishes every home chef who cares about edible embellishments should have in their repertoire. What always astonishes me is that a bulk of these recipes do not include a sweetener. Sure there are natural sugars in onions, but caramelizing is about adding flavors and a few spoonful's of our real Vermont maple syrup will enhance the onions and increase the caramelization.
Best Caramelized Onions
My favorite onion for caramelizing is the Vidalia onion. Only grown in 20 counties in Georgia, these are true sweet onions. The low sulfur in Georgia's soils are key to producing that sweet flavor that makes them so famous.
How to cut onion slices?
Onions for caramelization should always be cut lengthwise and uniformly so that they maintain their shape through the long cook time. Check out this video below, it's only two minutes long and does as good a job as any I've seen to break it down.
How long to caramelize onions?
This is where you will need to exercise extreme patience. I'd suggest that after you start your onions on the cook top that you find some other activity to keep you busy in the kitchen. The slow cooking process is what brings out the brown color and intense flavor of the onions.
The process is a lot like making maple syrup in that sugarmakers, too, are waiting on the sugars of the sap to caramelize bringing out the sweet flavors. You will be patiently waiting for the sugars of the onions to caramelize.
Here's a look at the start of the cooking process, 20 minutes in and the finish line at 40 minutes.
Add a little maple syrup
After about 20 minutes at a slow simmer, you can add a few teaspoons of maple syrup. It will make the onions even sweeter and assist the browning process.
I still swear by the old Grade B, now called Very Dark Strong Taste/Baking maple syrup. Keep a squirt bottle in the door of your fridge so it's always on hand. Basically two teaspoons will do, the squirt bottle just allows easy access and an even drizzle.
Uses for caramelized onions.
You will be able to kick up anything you top with this condiment. Sandwiches, eggs, burgers, meat, potatoes, both mashed and baked, and anything else you can think of putting them on or in between. Make a big batch and freeze a cup at a time and pull them out for tonight's dinner or tomorrow's breakfast sandwich.
Caramelized Maple Onions
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 large Vidalia onions, sliced
2 teaspoons maple syrup, preferably Very Dark Strong Taste/Baking
Directions:1. Melt butter and olive oil in fry pan
2. Add sliced onions and sauté for 20 minutes. Tossing every 5 minutes or so.
3. Drizzle maple syrup and sauté another 20 minutes while continue to toss. Keep a splash of water ready in case they start to stick.
4. When the browning and taste is to your liking take them off the heat and serve.