Jack had his beans and Alice had her ‘shrooms: I have my magic onions. They don’t start out as being magical—no, these onions come from the grocery store or farmer’s market looking as ordinary as all the rest. They may be yellow onions or white, red or Vidalia; but ultimately, they will end up with the power to transform the most ordinary dish into a sublime experience and a muddled tasting mess into a sensory indulgence.
Unlike bacon and butter which share this incredible transformative power, however, you will not wear my Magic Onions around your waist, nor will they cause your buttocks to curdle. My Magic Onions have very few calories, little fat, and even boast nutrients. (Take that, nutritionally vacuous Bacon!)
After I tell you how to make your very own magic onions, I will tell you one of the many wonderful things you can do with them: make Peach, Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Bruschetta.
I must warn you, though: as magical as these onions are, they cannot do everything. They won’t turn beach sand into bars of gold, but they can turn a store-bought pizza crust and a sprinkling of fresh rosemary into a spectacular appetizer. You cannot get someone (who has not tasted your cooking) to suddenly fall madly in love with you, but you can turn mayonnaise and sour cream into a frighteningly addictive (we’re talkin’ meth-like) sweet onion dip.
All you need do is caramelize your onions. That’s right, cook them slowly over medium heat until all that bad-ass sharpness of theirs just melts away, leaving behind earthy sweetness that makes everything a little – or a lot– better.
Caramelized Onion (Or, Miss Margie’s Magic Onions)
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced or chopped onions (about two baseball-size onions)
- Heat the oil over medium in a large skillet. Add the onions; cook, stirring occasionally, until light brown, translucent and very tender, about 21 minutes. Add salt to taste.
Makes 1 1/4 cups
Peach, Caramelized Onion and Blue Cheese Bruschetta
When peaches aren’t at their peak, use tomatoes, plums, mango or any other fruit. If you are not a fan of blue cheese, these are also delicious with feta. The caramelized onion, though, is irreplaceable.
16 slices 1/2-inch thick slices French (baguette) bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cups caramelized onion (see recipe above)
3 peaches, cut in 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
8 basil leaves, cut in thin strips
- Brush the top side of each slice of bread with olive oil; toast until lightly crisped.
- Combine onions, peaches, and blue cheese; season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon on top of the toasted bread and garnish each bruschetta with the basil.
Makes 16 servings
Nutritional analysis per serving: 106 calories, 3 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 3 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 177 mg sodium