Learning to Love Onions

December 13, 2009

IMG_4108

I have introduced my husband Randy to many different foods over the nine years we have known each other.  In some ways, I feel like I have introduced him to food period.  Randy has always been athletic and so he has always viewed food as fuel.  Before he met me, he had some crazy calculation for the protein to carb to vegetable ratio so that he could just keep moving without bonking.  It had very little to do with taste.  There was a lot of tuna, chicken, rice, and salsa in his life.  Occasionally a vegetable or two.

Then along comes me.  Vegetarian.  Loves to eat.  Loves to dine out.  Loves to talk about food.  Loves to research restaurants in far away cities.  Loves to obsess about each and every upcoming meal.  I’ve got to hand it to the guy – he has made a huge effort to embrace the obsession.  He tries new restaurants with me.  He enthusiastically eats everything that I cook, even the most aggressively vegetarian food (he is a carnivore).  He has opened his mind up to food that he thought he hated.  And I have converted him.  Peas, lentils, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and tofu used to be on the black list.  He eats all of them now.  (Brussels sprouts are still dicey and cauliflower only if it is roasted.  But still, progress.)  The only dislike he holds on to is beets.  And I can live with that for now.

But before I pat myself on the back too heartily, there are foods he has brought into my life for which I am eternally grateful.  It is hard for me to believe, but I had never tasted Pho (the Vietnamese rice noodle soup) before a trip we took to Vancover together.  Now Pho is a large part of our family’s life.  He also reawakened my love for Mexican food, spicy food in general, and he made me embrace onions.

IMG_4106

I still don’t like raw onions, but I do love them in all other ways.  Especially caramelized onions.  I have been cooking up lots of them lately.  I love them in these tarts, and in a quick and easy appetizer that I will share here shortly.  When my brother and sister-in-law came for brunch yesterday, I knew I wanted to make this frittata.  I’m not sure why so much time has gone by since my last go-around with this lovely dish but I guess that’s what happens in a busy kitchen.

Now, you might be wondering – are those eggs brown?  Did she overcook the frittata?  We all know that overcooked eggs are one of the worst things about brunches in restaurants, right?  Let me reassure you.  That brown top is actually balsamic vinegar that has been cooked down so that it is syrupy and sweet, and then brushed over the top of the frittata.  Not an A+  in the looks department but definitely in the taste department.

IMG_4103

Want another Frittata?  Check out this one.

Frittata with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Sage
Adapted from Fields of Greens
Serves 6

2 tbsp. olive oil
3 medium onions, quartered and thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 eggs
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1/3 cup
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
3 ounces mild creamy goat cheese, crumbled
3 tbsp. Reduced Balsamic Vinegar (method follows)

Preheat oven to 325ºF.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet; add the onions, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.  Sauté the onions over medium heat for about 10 minutes to release their juices.  Add the garlic; continue to cook over medium heat for about 40 minutes, gently scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to keep the onions from sticking as they caramelize.  Transfer the onions to a bowl and set aside to cool.  (DT: These can be made days in advance.  Put in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl.  Stir in the onions along with the Parmesan and sage.  In a 9-inch sauté pan with an ovenproof handle, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil to just below the smoking point.  Swirl the oil around the sides of the pan to coat it.  Turn the heat down to low, then immediately pour the frittata mixture into the pan.  The eggs will sizzle from the heat.  Crumble in the goat cheese and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, until the sides begin to set; transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until the frittata is golden and firm.

Loosen the frittata gently with a rubber spatula; the bottom will tend to stick to the pan.  Place a plate over the pan, flip it over, and turn the frittata out.  Brush the bottom and sides with the vinegar and cut into wedges.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

For the balsamic vinegar, heat 6 tablespoons of vinegar in a small saucepan and cook down gently until it is reduced by half.  If you want to have some of these amazing taste treat on hand, just make extra and store it in the refrigerator.  This process goes quickly, so watch your pot carefully.



9 Comments »

  1. oooo brushing with balsamic, what an amazing addition. Can’t wait to try that. I am obsessed with eggs, I crave them, and this looks so lovely, Dana.

    Comment by Sara — December 13, 2009 @ 5:52 pm

  2. this looks so fabulous! I have to try this out

    Comment by Emily Rose — December 13, 2009 @ 10:14 pm

  3. I love the balsamic top-even if it looks bad, the taste makes up for it I am sure:)

    Comment by Maria — December 14, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

  4. Wow, your husband and my husband are exactly alike! It’s so funny that we food loving women have hooked up with food-as-fuel men. I do love onions however, and I’ll eat them raw even. This looks great.

    Comment by kickpleat — December 14, 2009 @ 7:52 pm

  5. I’m embarrassed to admit, I’m still trying to outgrow my onion thing. I love the flavor of onions, but I can’t take the texture or mouthfeel for some weird reason. I trick myself my mincing them. The balsamic and goat cheese sound delicious here.

    Comment by lisaiscooking — December 14, 2009 @ 11:21 pm

  6. Sounds a lot like my house with the food struggle! My husband’s likes consisted of chicken parm and chicken marsala before me. He’s come a LONG way- each time I hear him profess his love for sushi, I shed a little tear of joy! I too am on a caramelized onion kick, but I love what you did with the balsamic…mmm…

    Comment by fresh365 — December 15, 2009 @ 7:59 pm

  7. Your story about your husband is so funny. I feel the same way about my husband. His mother has personally thanked me (on multiple occasions) for teaching him to eat his vegetables. I don’t think I could be married to somebody who didn’t eat vegetables. Seriously.
    I love caramelized onions and anything they are a part of. And balsamic reduction? Yum. This sounds like a winning combination.

    Comment by tiffany @ the garden apartment — December 16, 2009 @ 12:14 am

  8. Ohhh caramelized onions and a balsamic reduction?? That should convert anyone to loving onions!

    Comment by Ashley — December 29, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

  9. Stumbled on your blog as I was looking for this exact recipe online to forward to a friend. Made this frittata from my well-worn Field of Greens cookbook to take to a brunch. For sake of ease, I followed her optional instructions to bake in an oiled dish in the oven at 325 degrees for 25 minutes. Then brushed the top with balsamic reduction. Worked out great and the leftovers were wonderful cold.

    Comment by Jackie — June 7, 2010 @ 12:09 am



Leave a comment