There are some intimate objects inside that cold insulated box. There are vices and secrets mixed in with some shame. I think that a psychological profile could be worked up by analyzing the contents of anyone’s refrigerator…but you can also learn something, too.
At my friend Mary B.’s house the other evening, I opened the fridge to store the bottle of pinot gris a few of us were drinking pre-hot tub. I was struck by her entire shelf of pickles and preserves, sauces and otherwise jarred products–most of them homemade, I might add.
As we roll into summer, it seems a good time to analyze the contents of our our refrigerators, to bulk up on the staples that will ease our dinnertime worries and adorn our appetizer plates, sandwiches, salads, pastas, pizzas and more.
Caramelized onions are one of those staples for me. Since they take up to 1 hour to cook down to a silken, syrupy tangle, I make them in bulk.
Many people have trouble getting their onions dark enough, which is when the sugars break down enough to achieve that gorgeous deep caramel color and the marching band of flavors.
Here are 5 tips for making fully caramelized onions:
- Choose a heavy bottomed pan (to prevent scorching) at least 12 inches wide with low sides to allow the moisture to evaporate readily.
- Start with the pan on medium-high and then as the onions turn translucent and are tinged with color, reduce it to medium; when the onions are limp and just beginning to brown, turn the heat to low.
- Resist the urge to stir the onions so that those in contact with the pan’s surface have a chance to brown completely.
- Use a wooden spoon to scrape all the hardening brown bits from the bottom of the pan (note the pan edges in the photo) during the final stage of caramelizing to stir them back into the onions.
- Find something to occupy yourself with for about 1 hour so that you can be nearby for periodic stirring and scraping until your onions look like you mixed them with molasses.
Once they’re cool, store them covered in the refrigerator for 1 week surrounded by the artichokes, olives, roasted red peppers, pepperoncini…
Here is a summer recipe for combining them with whole grains and veggies for a quick supper: Chickpeas, Tomatoes and Bulgur with Caramelized Onions.