Monday, April 16, 2012

Carmalized Onion Pizza Sauce

A few month back Matt and I bought a frozen pizza at the co-op.  I can't really recall why now.  Maybe they were on super discount or something.  Or maybe we were just splurging off the gift card we received at Christmas.  Instead of a tomato based sauce this pizza had a caramelized onion sauce.   Oh, my it was scrumptious.  But, since we're not really the type to buy frozen pizza Matt and I just had to set about to make our own.  We've now successfully replicated it a few times so I thought I'd share as it is so delicious.

To caramelize onions all you have to do is chop them up and very, very, very slowly cook over low heat.  I am not sure this is 100% accurate, but here is my understanding of how it all happens.  Water, containing natural sugars, is released from the onion as it is cooked.  Cooking very slowly allows the water to evaporate off leaving behind the sugar.  As the onions continues to cook, ever so slowly, the sugars start to brown resulting in a sweet and creamy onion taste.  The whole caramelizing process take about 30-45 minutes, though I imagine you could go longer so long as it doesn't start to burn.  The onions just get sweeter and tastier as you cook them.  It must be done over very low heat or things just start to burn and it ruins the sweet, awesome flavor.


Just starting to brown...
Half-way brown....
Nice and caramelized.
We used 3 baseball sized onions for our pizza, which served four people, two slices a piece.  I don't think a fourth onion would have been too much though.  The pile of onions significantly shrinks in the pan as they cook down so sometimes it is hard to gauge how much onion to chop, but caramelized onions are yummy in all sorts of things if you happen to make more than your pizza needs.
 
Now here is hoping that our onion crop is better than last year.  I'd love to give this pizza a whirl with all homegrown veggies this year.  I bet it is even better still.

9 comments:

  1. I could just sit and eat a bowl of caramalized onions. It is a wonder I ever get any into a dish I am cooking! What else did you put on the pizza? It looks great!

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    1. Zucchini, garlic, red bell pepper, crimini mushrooms, Daiya mozzarella cheese, and some homegrown sun-dried tomatoes.

      It WAS great.

      What is your favorite dish to add caramelized onion to?

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    2. I cook brown rice in the microwave. In the meantime, I am caramelizing chopped onions in the iron skillet with a bit of oil. I use regular onions and the whites of green onions. I save the tops and slice in 1/4 to 1/2 inches long for later. When the rice is done, I dump the rice into the iron skillet that must be very hot with onions in it. If there is no water left in the rice, I put in 1/4 cup or so of water and some chicken bouillon. (the extra water is necessary for a good, sizzling, infusing steam of the rice.)

      All this is sizzling and infusing flavor into the rice as I rapidly stir and turn it all together. In about two minutes, turn off the heat and remove and cover the iron skillet. Just before serving,stir in the green tops that won't wilt or turn black now. cover again.

      When I was finishing my undergrad and grad degree, I had sooooo little money. I had gotten a box of 36 lbs of brown rice and another box of 48 lbs of brown rice. So for the cost of onions I could take a dish to the many potlucks/dinners/parties I attended at home of profs and friends.

      People entered homes exclaiming over the smell emanating from my rice. When I came in the door, people were celebrating rice once again. I don't think they were trying to be nice, because some of them didn't actually know how tight things were for me.

      Some people gladly took what little leftovers there were from my two-quart corelle casserole that, wrapped in towels kept the dish warm enough to serve immediately without heating.

      Homemade spaghetti or jarred spaghetti is my next favorite thing for caramelized onions. When I was a child, I could not wait until daddy had these ready to eat atop a hamburger. I still love them on a hamburger, caramelized in the same pan after the burgers come out.

      Maybe you call them cooked and not caramelized when they are in oil?

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  2. I've never heard of this but am quite intrigued. Perhaps it will go on our meal planning for next week. For us it would HAVE to include some black olives and feta cheese too.

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    1. That is what I thought when I first heard of it!!! I hope you get a chance to try it.

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  3. oh this sounds YUM. I adore a Moosewood pasta sauce made with caramelized onions, greens, feta, and toasted walnuts.

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    1. Do you remember which Moosewood book the recipe you mentioned is in?

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  4. A Dutch way to use onions, is to actually burn them but not charred. And use the same pan and make gravy. Very good. Also, at an European Deli you can buy Buisman. It is small granulers of burnt sugar. For sauces and gravy. Hope this doesn;t sidetrack the subject. Becky

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    Replies
    1. Interesting! I love learning about the fantastic diversity of food cultures! So cool.

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!