As much as I love techniques that save time and effort, sometimes you have to go for broke and forget all the shortcuts. When I read Chef Tim Ma’s recipe for his caramelized onions (“carmies” for short), I paused for a beat. 3 to 4 hours? For real, dude? Yes, for real.
As I peeled and chopped away, I wondered what the final product would be like given the sheer amount of time expended on the dish. And as the onions sweated away, the house started to smell good. And then it smelled better than that. And then better than that. And then so good that I began to question why I didn’t cook all onions in this way.
Sandra Lee and Rachel Ray be damned (although I could see that maybe, just maybe, Rachel Ray would cook these babies earnestly on a weekend – maybe that’s a little too much faith in humanity), this recipe is the most perfect exercise in reminding ourselves why we cook at all. When we give the ingredients we’re working with the exact amount of time that they need to become the epitome of deliciousness, we have the ability to create dishes that excite and delight. I say all of this with the utmost of sincerity – why would I ever waste time making boo boo when I could make these onions?
Chef Tim’s Caramelized Onions
6 sweet yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 tbs. of butter
1 tbs. of salt
1 tbs. of sugar
Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onions and season with salt and sugar. Reduce heat to as low as possible and cook onions slowly until they become a deep golden brown, stirring occasionally. You’ll be cooking these guys for about 3-4 hours.
Roast Beef Sandwich with Caramelized Onions
This is barely a recipe, but so delicious it’s well worth listing here. Layer these onions on foccacia with rare roast beef, fresh arugula, horseradish cheddar and mayo, salt and pepper. It’s lovely for the spice, particularly the peppery arugula playing up the sweetness of the onions. Yes!
Languishing in the kitchen by myself, I found myself thinking about the incredible movie “The Wackness” and ended up jonesing for some old Mary J (pronounced Murr J) and the song “Reminisce” – the irony is not lost on me.