This is not fast food.
These are about as old school as you can get.
This is you and spoon and a pan full of sliced onions. This is you babysitting them for about an hour, gently coaxing out all that glorious flavor. This is stirring and scraping, and careful moderation of heat.
You’re turning this…
…which you can use to do this…
…which makes for a pretty darned delicious summer, if you ask me. 🙂
The end result is a little sweet, deeply flavorful, and positively melts in your mouth. This exact hot dog is one of my favorite things about summer. I look forward to my first one every year.
Admittedly, I stacked the onion deck a little. I used Vidalia onions, which are naturally sweeter than regular yellow onions. I also added a little kosher salt and just a smidge of dark brown sugar to get the party started.
The secret ingredient for caramelized onions
Seriously. That’s it.
You need to stir frequently, and resist the urge to crank up the heat and try to get them done in a flash.
How to use caramelized onions
Use these for almost anything. They’re just about the best hot dog topping going. Not so bad, right? 😉
I put mine on a grilled, all-beef Hebrew National dog, as part of the promotion and recipe development gig I’m working on right now. (Thanks, guys!)
Other ideas for caramelized onions:
- Top a burger or a grilled steak
- Mix into an omelet
- Stuff bread dough with them and form into rolls
- Stuff into chicken breasts with spinach and bake
- Eat ’em straight with a fork (I won’t tell)
How do you use ’em? Leave a comment below, let us know!
Perfect Caramelized Onions
4 – 5 large Vidalia onions
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbls. dark brown sugar
Yields about 1 1/4 cups caramelized onions
Peel and chop your onions
I wear contacts, so chopping onions never really makes me cry. Go figure. (Do you mind it?)
Cut the peeled onion in half, then into thin slices. Get them as even as you can. Don’t make yourself nuts.
Toss the olive oil in your biggest pan. You want to use a big pan because caramelizing is all about surface area. You want to be able to spread the onions in a thin layer over the bottom of the pan, so as many bits are in contact with the heat as possible. Make sense?
Add the sliced onions to the pan, separating them into individual slivers as you go.
Repeat with the rest of your onions. Warning: It’s a RIDICULOUS amount of cut onions. That’s just fine. It cooks down to almost nothing, by comparison.
Once your onions are all cut up, you’re ready to caramelize.
Caramelize your onions
OK, so like I said: This ain’t fast. So put on your fav tunes, and have yourself a little kitchen dance party while you’re waiting. Or whatever. (Me? I love a little J-pop in the kitchen.)
Slide your pan onto the stove over medium high heat.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions start to let out a little moisture and soften up.
When they’re starting to get glossy and translucent, sprinkle with kosher salt and add the brown sugar. Stir well to mix. (You could add them at the beginning. I think it’s easier to distribute once the onions have cooked a little.)
When it’s all mixed in, the brown sugar will give the onions the faintest (and I’m talking faint) of brown colors.
Continue to cook on medium high heat, stirring frequently. If the onions start to stick to the pan or burn, lower your heat.
After maybe 15 minutes, the bottom of your pan should start to get coated with little bits that are easily scraped up. When you see this, knock the heat down to low. Your goal is to keep the stove hot enough to cook them, but low enough so they don’t burn. Keep an eye on your pan and keep stirring, you’ll totally get the feel for it.
Keep cooking, stirring frequently, scraping all that glorious light brown stuff up off the bottom of the pan.
Keep going…they’ll get darker slowly.
They’re just about done when they look like this. Give a taste, and add a little salt if you like.
And, VOILA! You just caramelized onions.
Scrape the caramelized onions into a bowl or measuring cup. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for up to about 4 days.
The greatest hot dog topping in the world
Here’s how I like to eat my hot dogs. Lightly toasted bun.
Grilled hot dog. I like Hebrew National. Heaps of caramelized onions.
A Message from Hebrew National
Hebrew National tastes great because, for more than 100 years, weâ€™ve adhered to the highest quality standards. Hebrew National Franks are made with premium cuts of 100% pure kosher beef, and contain no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no by-products, and no fillers. Premium taste and high quality every time, for any occasion. Thatâ€™s our guarantee. Learn about even more reasons to love Hebrew National, and tell us why you love them, too!Â
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