Sunday, December 16, 2007

Slicing Onions

Slicing onions is one of my least favorite preps for cooking. I always have a bag of Ore-Ida chopped onions
stored in the freezer for quick use in recipes.
Which is fine for chopped onions, but what about sliced? Slicing onions reduces me to tears. I've tried all the a candle, holding a slice of bread in my mouth...but nothing stops the tears from coming.

A new technique was needed. I figured that if I sliced the onions fast enough I could avoid contact with the onion mist. So, recently I went in search of a new gadget. A number of solutions were available at my local kitchen supply store. Everything from elaborate mandoline slicers to special goggles for wearing while working with onions. Kyocera has an adjustable slicer with a very sharp ceramic blade. Perfect for slicing not only onions but potatoes, cabbage, etc. It is currently my favorite kitchen gadget.

The snow has now arrived in abundance and it is time for French Onion Soup. This weekend, I tearlessly prepared a batch.


1/4 cup butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 lbs onions, thinly sliced
4 cups vegetable stock for vegetarian version, otherwise use beef stock
1/2 cup dry sherry
French bread
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
chopped fresh parsley, to serve

Heat the butter and oil in a large pan, then add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, over low heat for 45 minutes, or until softened and golden brown. It is important not to rush this stage. Cook the onion until caramelized for fullest flavor.
Add stock, sherry and additional water (up to 1 cup) if needed. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste.
Meanwhile, slice the bread into thick slices and arrange, in single layer on baking sheet. Toast one side under broiler. Turn and sprinkle with Parmesan, toast until crisp and golden and cheese has melted.
Put bread slices into serving bowls. Ladle in the hot soup, sprinkle with remaining cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.


Lydia said...

French onion soup is absolutely worth the tears -- it's one of my all-time favorites. I usually resort to the food processor for large slicing jobs, though a woman in one of my cooking groups wore swim goggles when she had to work with onions, and that really did seem to work (though we laughed and laughed at the sight of it!).

T.W. Barritt said...

It's interesting - I have found that yellow onions make me cry gallons of tears, but nothing happens when I slice white onions or sweet vidalia onions. I suppose the composition is different in some way.

Diane said...

Lydia, I agree. A good french onion soup is worth crying for.

T.W., yes, I've heard that there is a difference. Some say that the plain old yellow ones are best for a flavorful soup while the vidalia are best raw. Vidalia are not suppose to make one cry as much...although I can't tell a difference...I cry with them all.

Linda said...

sounds perfect and simple. i've been looking for a recipe like this. ideal for those nights when there's nothing in the house, and i don't want to order in. thanks!