Caramelized Onion Sauce

Adapted from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven
Preparation time: Up to an hour (5 to 10 minutes of work)
Yield: About 1 1/2 cups, easily multiplied

As a child, when I read The Wind in the Willows, I wondered why Mr. Toad would exclaim "Onion sauce!" when he was perturbed. (Mostly, though, I wondered what onion sauce actually was, since nothing remotely resembling it existed in my mother's repertoire.) However, having discovered the following recipe, I now know who deeply sweet and mellow an onion sauce can be. I think someone should advise Mr. Toad to use another expression when he is angry.

This sauce is very easy. Once you've sliced the onions, you've done 99% of the work. You can slice the onions well in advance, and store them in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator or even the freezer.

You can make the onions more or less well done, depending on whether you want them to retain some texture, or to become fluffy.

Serve Caramelized Onion Sauce on pasta or homemade pizza -- or in omelets, with crumbled goat cheese. Or heap this recipe on top of grains, beans, cooked vegetables, or mashed potatoes. You can also serve it openface on small toasts with a swirl of Balsamic Drizzle.

Store the finished sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will keep for a week or longer.

1 tablespoon olive oil or unsalted butter
4 medium-sized onions, very thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Heat the oil or melt the butter in a large skillet, and then swirl to coat the pan. Add the onions to the hot oil or butter, and cook over high heat for a minute or two, stirring a couple of times. Sprinkle in the salt, lower the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook from 30 to 45 minutes longer, stirring just once or twice during this time. The longer the onions cook, the sweeter and softer they will become. At some point the onions will disintegrate and become a fluffy sauce.
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