Why not caramelize the onions a bit?
- Katie Nell Mar 13, 2007 08:01 AM
I read in recipes all the time- "try not to let the onions get any color", "being careful not to let the onions start to brown", "just cook the onions until soft and translucent", etc. Why not? I'm sure I always take my onions further than they are really supposed to go. I don't always caramelize them, but maybe just to the point that they are just starting to get some color. It is just an aesthetic thing? Like in a bechamel sauce, or whatever, where you wouldn't necessarily want bits of browned onion running through it. Or are there other reasons? What do you usually do?
I'm with you...I always cook 'em to the color I like. I don't care if a white sauce has brown bits. I like brown bits.
Well- I will have to confess. We have one picky eater who always asks that I leave out onions in recipes- but I have discovered that she really only dislikes raw onions. When cooking onions, however, I usually do only take them to the translucent stage, as that way she doesn't notice them!! But, like you, I would prefer them a bit more brown.
I think it is a flavor issue - not wanting to get the onions too sweet or to let them get burned if some people try to cook them too fast. But that being said - I love carmelized onions, so I often brown them a bit anyway.
I think it's a colour and taste thing. In classic cooking, they emphasize keeping things the same colour (ie white pepper in white things, which I hate) and also, in terms of taste, in classic sauces, etc., you wouldn't want the onion to overpower the other flavours.
That said, doesn't mean it's the best way to do it and I prefer mine slightly browned too in most cases.