Friday 1 April 2011

Humble Ingredient, Kitchen Star

“You can feed everyone sandwiches and if your kitchen smells like onions they’ll think you’ve been cooking all day.”  -Ina Garten

I love the smell of cooking onions.  Like Ina, I think they signal a cook’s presence in the kitchen.  I respond to the scent of cooking onions this way because we so rarely cook without them.  Onions are the architectural underpinning to most of our savoury dishes.  This is true world-wide.

Funnily, the onion’s importance in our diet has led it to be taken for granted.  It’s so common in our kitchens that we scarcely think of it at all.  Rarely do we make it the star of the show.  Think now:  When (if ever) was the last time you served a main dish in which onion was the predominant flavour?

I caramelize onions, pickle them, sauté them, bake them, deep fry them, and—of course—use them as an aromatic in virtually all my soups and stews.  Despite this, they don’t often achieve main dish status at my house.  I do make an onion tart from time to time, but that’s about it. 

Do you have an onion main dish that is popular at your house?  If so, I’d love to hear about it.

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