Years ago, I met a woman who was allergic to onions.
Perhaps she thought me terribly rude, but I never invited her for a meal, because I couldn't imagine what I might be able to cook for her.
Back then I wasn't much of a cook, but even today, I'd have to work hard to put together a meal that tastes just as good without onions as with them. Every soup base and every stew begins with onions. Cajun recipes start with "the trinity" (onions, celery and bell pepper); French dishes open with a mirepoix (onions, celery and carrots).
I don't eat raw onions, but roast, grill, sauté or -- be still my heart -- caramelize an onion, and I'm there.
What are onions?
Edible plants in the allium family, specifically Allium cepa.
How/where to store:
In a cool, dry (very important) part of the pantry, away from potatoes (also very important), for 1-2 months.
More facts about onions, and ingredient photos, in The Perfect Pantry:
Onions (Recipe: French onion soup)
Clam, bacon and caramelized onion pita pizza
My favorite low-carb oat bran pita bread makes the perfect base for a single-serving pizza, but what really makes this pizza is slowly caramelized onions. Make extra onions and keep them in the refrigerator or freezer; you'll find all sorts of ways to use them. In this recipe, proportions are not important. Pile on the toppings to your taste. Serves 2; can be doubled.
2 large onions, peeled and very thinly sliced
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
2 oat bran or whole wheat pita breads (6- or 8-inch size)
6 slices bacon
4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 7-oz can chopped clams, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Fresh black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar on the onions, stir a bit more, and continue to cook until the onions are brown but not crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.
While the onions are cooking, in another frying pan, place the bacon strips in a single layer. Line a plate with paper towels and set aside. Cook the bacon over medium heat until it's as crispy as you like it. Drain on the paper towels, and chop roughly.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the two pitas on the pan, bottom facing up (this will create a bit more of a "cup" to contain the toppings).
Distribute the slices of mozzarella on each pita. Top with some caramelized onions. Sprinkle the bacon around, then add half of the can of clams to each pizza. Add some thyme leaves here and there, and top with parmesan cheese. Season with black pepper to taste.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheeses are melted and gooey. Serve hot or warm.
Other recipes that use onions:
Pickled red onions, from David Lebovitz
Mujadara, from Herbivoracious
Onion strings, from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Cucumber, onion and parsley salad, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Vidalia onion bake, from Dine and Dish
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