Technically, any onion can be used, but you want to pick ones that are naturally less sweet. Standard yellow or brown onions are the best kinds to use, even better than "sweet onions" which can become bland after cooking. Sweet onions should be saved for raw eating.
To get your onions ready for cooking, you want to slice the top and bottoms off and peel and slice them. You can decide which thickness you want. The thinner slices will cook quicker and become more jam-like than thicker slices.
When working with onions, you are bound to tear up while cutting. There are many methods to reduce tearing that people swear by, but there is no proven method. Some people think that the sharper the knife, the less you cry, meaning use the sharpest knife possible to avoid cutting the onion cells and releasing the scent that makes your eyes tear.
Caramelizing onions requires only a few ingredients: butter or oil, salt and the sliced onions. If you want, you can add black pepper or sugar.
Use a large, heavy bottomed pot, which will more evenly and effectively cook the onions.
For the best caramelized results, keep the heat low and stir often, cooking for a while (at least an hour, sometimes more).
The longer you cook onions and the thinner they are, the more they will break down and become jam-like. Or, if desired, you can slice onions thicker, cook them less, and keep them a little more structured.
There are multitudes of ways to use caramelized onions. They can garnish just about any meat or fish, top a soup or pizza, fill in a sandwich, partner with pasta, be pureed into a dip, or eaten simply atop some crispy bread. The possibilities are near endless, just be creative.
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