Saturday, June 30, 2012

Balsamic Caramelized Onions

I've recently been introduced to the concept of "sprouted bread".  Did you know about this?  It's supposed to be good for you.  I'm into that.  I'm also into it being stored in the freezer.  Since I travel so much, I desperately need the freezer to store food so things won't spoil quickly.  I know, I know. I understand that this is not a new concept and you can pretty much freeze any type of bread you like. Don't rain on my parade.

Since this sprouted bread and I have been hanging out more often, I've become completely re-interested in grilled cheese. Grilled cheese with onions have been calling my name. Since I will eventually make French Onion Soup, but it's now summer and a hot soup may be out of the question, I will have to satisfy myself with a version of this grilled cheese. But wait! I need to caramelize some onions first. Let's make that happen so my grilled cheese dreams can become a reality.

Balsamic Caramelized Onions
slightly adapted from Closet Cooking's Onion Marmalade
yields ~1 - 1 1/2 cups onions

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cups onion, sliced (I used 4 medium onions)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

1) Drizzle the oil into a saucepan.

2) Toss in the onions and saute until the onions are tender, 10-15 minutes.

3) Reduce the heat to just below medium.  Pour in the water, cover and cook until the onions turn a deep golden brown, about 50 minutes.  Stir for 10 minutes for the first 30 minutes, then stir every 5 minutes for the remaining time.  Add more water if it is needed before the 50 minutes are up. On the other hand, cook the onions for more than 50 minutes* if there is still a lot of liquid in the pan after the 50 minutes are over.  If a lot of liquid remains in the pan, keep the onions uncovered as they continue to cook.

4) Once the onions are browned to your satisfaction, add the balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, rosemary, salt and pepper.

5) Deglaze the pan and cook until most of the moisture is gone.

I didn't have the thyme on hand that the original recipe called for.  So let my creativity step in and make use of the straggling rosemary stalks hanging out in my kitchen.  I would like to try this again with the thyme and see how different the flavor is from my rosemary version.

These onions are soft, salty, sweet and savory all at once.  You can taste the rosemary but the flavor is subtle, which really allows the onions to shine through.  You can add these onions to salads, bruschetta, pizzas, baked potatoes, tarts, or grilled cheeses (as I will soon show you in a future blog post!).  The possibilities are endless.


  1. I love caramelized onions, but I've never cooked any fresh herbs with them. And, you know, I can eat soup any time of year, especially French onion. But a cheese sandwich with these onions -- oh, my!

    1. Yes! The onions were great but they were so good in the grilled cheese. I'm trying to get my life together and finish that post soon. Soon... :)