By David Cohlmeyer


There is no quick way to make something this delicious. The process results in more than just caramelized sugars; it is a complicated reaction between the onions’ sugars and proteins that cannot be hurried. But you can just as easily make a large batch for use in sandwiches, on pizza, with pasta, over meat, into scrambled eggs, to sweeten leafy greens, diluted for soup, stirred into sour cream dip, or simply enjoyed as a side dish.

Surprisingly, pungent onions have more sugars than watery sweet onions. For this reason, sweet onions take longer to caramelize and yield a less unctuous result. Red onions develop an unappealing greenish hue, so they are not recommended. Well-grown organic onions typically have less water, meaning they can yield 30 percent more!

You can dice the onions, or cut them crosswise, but I think they look and taste best when cut into thin wedges. No oil is needed when cooked as directed.

12 medium onions, trimmed and cut from top end to root end into thin wedges.

1 tsp salt

In a large heavy frying pan or sauté pan, add the onions and 1/4- cup water. Cover the pan. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the salt. Continue to simmer, uncovered, stirring the onions every 5 minutes. If some of the juices stick to the bottom of the pan, stir in a splash of water (or some stock, or red or white wine). Continue the slow cooking and periodic stirring until the onions turn a luscious deep brown, about 30 minutes.

If you feel you must add something more, stir in a knob of butter and a generous dusting of finely ground black pepper. The caramelized onions keep well, covered, in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.