One of the travel tips that experienced travelers to France will always tell to anyone who will listen is that you gotta try the food – whatever food is put in front of you.
Prior to my first trip to France, I would not have thought of a plate of fried onions as an enlightened side dish to a meal. In American culture, onions get chopped up and go into things. They taste horrid on their own, at least I used to think so, and create awful heartburn when eaten raw (OK, that might be just me) but they are lovely in stews and soups and as a diced-up garnish on a hot dog. The first time I was served fried onions on a plate, I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Should I leave them like I leave the orange slices on my breakfast plate? But I looked around and the folks with whom I happened to be eating this meal were eating them up with gusto, so I got up my nerve and put a small forkful of them into my mouth.
What a divine revelation!
Such a simple thing, to saute onions in a pan with a little butter, or olive oil, and a pinch of sugar. It was a door opening … and I ended up eating them with gusto that day too!
The onions pictured above were made this way:
I didn’t quite carmelize the onions in the above photo, I did leave them just on the edge between crunchy and fully cooked.
Slice a yellow onion in half and then slice the halves into thin slices, so that they end up being cut into long strips.
Heat a saute pan or skillet with a little butter, or olive oil, whatever you have on hand.
Add some dried basil, dried thyme, and ground black pepper to the oil.
The saute usually happens over a hot stove, but it really depends on the pan you use as to how high the flame should be. You do want to have a very hot pan.
When the oil is hot, add the onions.
Stir the onions so that they are coated with the oil and the herbs.
Stir the onions every so often so they don’t burn. But don’t stir them constantly or they won’t cook.
When the onions are starting to clear, add a little bit of balsamico, balsamic vinegar.
Continue to saute until the onions are clear and starting to brown.
Serve up on a plate with a hunk of baguette smeared with butter!