An awesome onion purée that you can swap for cream in any number of savory dishes especially soups.
3 large vidalia onions*
1 tbsp lemon juice
1. Roast onions with their peels at 400º F in a roasting pan that fits them snugly for about 50 minutes, or until they are very dark on the outside and molten soft on the inside. Let them cool for 15-20 minutes.
2. Once they have cooled, Remove the peels, and add the onions into a high speed blender. Food processor doesn’t give you the same results. Blend until very smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Finish by adding freshly squeezed lemon juice, then blend 20 seconds more. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Chipotle, chili or black pepper goes well together.
Use as you would cream to finish a dish.
To store the sauce: Keep in the fridge for up to 2-3 days, or freeze for up to two weeks. In either case, blend in the blender for 20 to 30 seconds to reincorporate just before serving.
*Vidalia Onions are the most common kinds of sweet onions. They are fairly similar to yellow onions in flavor, though their layers are slightly less tender and meaty.
Extremely low in pyruvic acid—which, when exposed to air, makes your eyes tear—Vidalias are among the mildest in the onion kingdom.
How to Shop and Store: Vidalia onion season typically runs from the middle of April through early September. Firm, medium-sized onions without any bruises will taste the best. To store the onions, wrap each onion in a paper towel and store in the fridge; they’ll keep for weeks.
Caramelize onions in the pan without olive oil
You probably heard that caramelizing heats the onion so high that the sugars begin to release fast and create with new depth of flavor you’re looking for. This sounds like it’s going to be complicated. No way! The natural sugar in an onion requires no frying but patience. I may add a sprinkle of nutmeg or black pepper but no salt, sugar or oil.
It’s so incredibly easy I never use oil to sauté any vegetables because veg stock or water always work great.
1. Slice onions into thin shreds.
2. Place slices into a uniform layer on a nonstick pan on medium heat and cover with water or mushroom stock just to the top of the onions. Cook until water is absorbed.
3. When foamy water is boiling out of the onions and they appear dry add water again to the top layer of onions. Don’t stir yet. The idea is to cook out the moisture so you’ll see a color change of your onions as this proceeds.
4. Don’t stir the onions until the second water is absorbed. Then add about 2 tbsp of vegetable or mushroom broth and stir the onions. You will begin to see the caramelization in full effect and gently stir them to loosen up any adherent onions from the bottom keeping heat even. And not turning it up, continue to stir. They will begin to brown and become gooey.
This takes about 15 minutes.
Tips: A pinch of baking soda can bring out a new taste dimension when browning onions. A small addition of baking soda yields onions which taste remarkably sweet with strong caramel notes.