Monday, January 25, 2010

Sweet and Sour Onion Marmalade

How to make something extraordinary out of something ordinary?  Always start with and onion.  The first time I made this it was intended for pizza. . . and while I did make the pizza I also put it on everything else I could think of until I ran out of it.  It’s great on a pizza with gorgonzola or blue cheese and walnuts, but it’s equally great on a grilled cheese, in a wrap with some grilled chicken or steak. . . really it is so nice to have in your fridge, it makes everything it touches instantly better.
The original recipe I used came from the venerable Peter Reinhart (this man is a baking guru and inspiration for bread bakers everywhere) in his cookbook/ narrative American Pie.  This is a book all about his quest to find the perfect pizza, and what that really means to him, to you, to me.  As usual he manages to be philosophical, factual and interesting.  He leaves you with things to ponder and things to cook  - both of which will change your life for the better.  I love Peter Reinhart. 
But this isn’t a love letter to Peter Reinhart, it’s a recipe.  I found the original recipe a little sweet for my tastes, and took the sugar down from 3/4 of a cup to 1/2 a cup. . . it’s still very sweet.  Now that you know that, you can do what you want – go for it with tons of sugar, or scale it back with almost a ton of sugar.   You need to make this at least an hour before you need it.  It has to cool.  And don’t DON”T taste it as soon as it’s finished, it has hot sugar in it and will instantly burn you wherever you touch it.
raw in pan onions
It’s a lot of onions to start with
cooked onions
They really cook down
onions and sugar
Add the sugar
stirring in the balsamic
Stir in the balsamic
finished onions
best pic of onion in a bowl_edited-1
Finished syrupy sweet onions

Sweet and Sour Onion Marmalade
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large yellow onions
1/2 cup sugar (you can use 3/4 cup if you want)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  1. use a food processor to thinly slice the onions (or if you’re really industrious - or lacking a food processor just do it by hand)
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  3. Add the onions and sautee for 20-25 minutes or until they begin to turn a light golden brown. . . you’ll need to stir them.
  4. Add the sugar and continue cooking and stirring for about 3 minutes until the sugar melts and begins to bubble
  5. As the onions turn a richer brown pour in the vinegar and stir it in. 
  6. Cook for a few minutes until the vinegar is a syrupy coating on the onions.   Your spoon will leave tracks when you stir it.
  7. Stir in the salt and pepper and let cool completely before using or serving
  8. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks

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