Onions are the backbone of so many dishes, they’re an absolute must in the pantry. Until I joined a farm share, I would buy them a few at a time, one for the recipe I had in mind and a few more for good measure. But now I’m getting five or six onions at a pop, and find myself with a glut.
What to do with so many onions?
In the past, I’ve diced them and frozen them in a Ziploc inside another Ziploc. Even so, the odor lingered in the freezer. This time I decided to go a step further and caramelize them. I was home and could let them slowly do their thing while I did, well, other things. This way, when life gets hectic, I’ll be able to make some of our favorite dishes calling for caramelized onions, like Frittata with Caramelized Onions, Ham and Potatoes, or flatbread with chicken, feta and caramelized onions, in a fraction of the time.
To caramelize onions, peel them, then cut them in half from root end to the top. Slice each half into thin rings. Put several tablespoons of olive oil (more or less, depending on how many onions you have) in a saute pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and stir. Turn down the heat to medium after a few minutes and cook for 20-30 minutes, or until light brown and sweet. If you’re short on time, you can cook them for 20 minutes then deglaze the pan with a bit of balsamic vinegar, which will intensify the flavor and deepen the color.
Take them off the heat and let them cool completely, then divide them into portions you think you’ll use in a recipe and freeze them in a Ziploc bag sealed inside a second Ziploc.