How to Stop Worrying and Love Cooking with Onions

How well do you know your onions? Even the most rudimentary of home chefs understands the power that an onion can add to just about any dish, yet it’s surprising how uninventive many of us are when it comes to how we do so. There are many different ways to prepare an onion and each can add a surprising new dimension to both common everyday meals and more specialized efforts.

Caramelizing your onions, for example, will add a soft sweetness to many a Mediterranean dish. Slowly fry your onions with butter, oil, salt and brown sugar before adding them to a frittata or risotto, and you will instantly (well, after fifty minutes or so) create the feeling of eating authentic cuisine in a little independent restaurant on the Spanish coast.

Roasting onions creates a softer, smoother, more homely flavor that we associate with cooler climate countries. Toss your onions in oil and golden castor sugar and roast them for just fifteen minutes or so to create the perfect lift for your sausage and mash dish, steak, or roast dinner. There’s nothing quite like a British-style ale to wash this one down!

Somewhere in between these styles, you’ll find the more Gallic boiled onion: a French alternative that fits well with soups or bourguignon. Whole (rooted and peeled) onions should be put in a pot and simmered for around twenty minutes, before being drained and allowed to simmer some more. Get this one right, and your guests will truly believe you are a chef of international standing.

The people at Pound Place reckon there are eight definitive ways to prepare your onions, and they’ve been kind enough to create a tasty-looking new visual guide to help you along with each different style. It all depends what mood you’re in… so, which will you try tonight?

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