I am a huge believer in the emotional power food has over people. I have no idea why that is but it’s something I would love to learn more about, if anyone knows anything more about it I would be thrilled to hear it!
Grilled onions are one of my favourite things to cook, when I have no idea what to cook. There is a certain distracting, almost meditative quality to having a huge bunch of onions to peel and slice. (I’ll tell you, as a trainee cook, that is a really good quality to have). Then the slow and diligent turn of the onions as the gradually sweeten and caramelise and reduce in their own liquor. It just makes me feel good inside and I can’t really explain it.
You probably all have something weird you do when you aren’t feeling great and just want a simple distraction for an hour so you don’t have to do that whole “thinking about things” nonsense the world seems so caught up with these days. For me, it’s grilled onions.
So when it came time for my first big home cooking day in my new home, there was really only one choice wasn’t there?
-This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a cooking principal. Hence; no ingredient list. It’s just onions. I recommend at least six to eight medium onions to get the best result. That’s it. A little sunflower oil and a pinch of salt but other than that, it’s just the onions.
-I’m going to take your through a pretty foolproof way to get world class onions but if you think at any point it’s a bit too complicated, just know you can prepare them pretty much whatever you want and they will probably still turn out damn good.
-Start by peeling the onions, but keep the root on for the moment. Take off the stem end then run a shallow cut down the side of the onion through the outer layer. The whole skin should come off easily enough.
-Next cut the onions in half from root to tip, they should all stay together pretty well.
-Lay half of an onion flat on your chopping board. Holding the onion in one hand and the knife securely in the other, slice off the root at a slight angle to get all of it.
-Rotate the onion by 90 degrees, still on the chopping board, then start slicing, as finely as you can, from the top of the onion to the bottom.
-You should end up with Pretty evenly sliced sickle moons of onions. Perfect for getting a really consistent finished product.
-Repeat this with the rest of the onions until you find yourself with a giant pile of onions you have conquered.
-Next get a large, heavy bottomed saucepan with a few tablespoons of sunflower oil onto a high heat. RFH as my uncle would say, Really Fucking Hot.
-Add in the onions, all at once and leave them there. They will sizzle and spurt and sound like they are burning but just leave them to it for ten minutes.
-After ten minutes start to turn them. Make sure all the ones at the bottom get rotated to the top and vice versa.
Now it’s kind of up to you. For the first while you are going to keep the heat high and move the onions ever five minutes or so. The weight of the onions pressing down on each other and the hot oil is going to darken them up and cook out a lot of moisture pretty quickly.
-Once they start to shrink considerably, reduce the heat and keep turning them every few minutes.
-After about forty five to fifty minutes you should be left with a seemingly tiny quantity of dark, sweet, jammy onions just covering the bottom of your pan.
-The only thing left to do now is season them up and you are ready to eat.
These keep really well in the fridge for about a week to be used with a sandwich or a steak or noodles or a casserole or whatever you have to hand. Never doubt the power of the Grilled Onion.