An ingredient as versatile as an onion
may be cooked in a number of ways to fulfill its culinary potential.
Sauteing or Frying is usually done in oil
or butter and is the classic way to begin a large number of recipes.
Some call for the onions to be quickly softened to a state or
translucency, but you will find that the longer this takes the better
(15 to 20 minutes is ideal) because this releases the natural sweetness
of the onions.
Pureeing is really a preparation rather
than a cooking method. Onions are blended to a thick paste to be fried,
usually after spices, as the basis of many Indian, nu, and Pacific Rim
dishes. The pureed onions form not only the main ingredient but also
the thickener for the sauce.
Baking may be done in or out of the
skins, although the skins will help to hold the onions together during
cooking. Most onions to be baked should be par-boiled first.
Roasting is a fashionable way of cooking
onions (and many root vegetables) at high temperatures in a little
olive oil for flavor. Roasting produces a deliciously caramelized outer
crust that is sweet to the taste.
Boiling is a good way of softening onions
which are going to be finished in another way, e.g. in a sauce or
topped with breadcrumbs and grilled. Leave small onions whole, or chop
large ones into big chunks.
Braising in a little stock or gravy produces an almost pot-roast
Deep-frying is usually reserved for onion
rings, either floured or battered. These are a classic accompaniment to