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Caramelized Onion Custards

November 18, 2009

This is a level 3 onion recipe.  Oh, you didn’t know there was a hierarchy of onion?

Level 1 – the raw onion.  Yeah, most of ye professed onion-haters have only tasted onion in this preparation.  I happen to think that the flavor is fabulous, but understand if you prefer to omit raw onions from dishes.  You are excused.

Level 2 –  the sauteed onion.  This is a milder form of level 1.  If, after sampling a buttery soft sauteed onion, you still insist you loathe the veggie, you may need to rethink your inclination towards cooking.  I mean, how can you omit onions in a recipe?  Chili without onions?  Sloppy joes without onions?  Just not possible.

Level 3 – the caramelized onion.  This is the true foodie-level of onion loving.  This is the Rolls-Royce of all onion appearances.  How could such a strong and even offensive (but in a good way) vegetable turn into such a sweet, rich, and delicious delicacy when slow cooked?

Alton Brown must enlighten me here on the chemistry behind this metamorphosis.  I suspect it has a lot to do with the evaporation of the water and the slow cooking of the natural sugars contained in the root, but I do not know for sure.

If you’ve professed your hate for levels 1 and 2 onion, please give the level 3 onion a chance, because the caramelized onion is the super-hot step brother of the raw and lightly cooked siblings and must not be placed in the same family.

This recipe is elegant when served in individual custard cups.  It is definitely dinner party worthy.  Heck, I think it’s Thanksgiving-Day-Dinner-worthy, but I tend to buck the system like that.

Caramelized Onion Custards (6, adapted from here)
1 cup chopped caramelized onions, cooled (about 3 cups uncooked)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated skim milk
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 325°.

Combine all ingredients except cooking spray in a large bowl. Spoon onion mixture into 6 (6-ounce) custard cups coated with cooking spray. Place the custard cups in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 325° for 1 hour or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Calories 100.7
Total Fat 1.9 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Cholesterol 73.4 mg
Sodium 114.3 mg
Potassium 334.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 12.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.0 g
Sugars 7.2 g
Protein 9.2 g

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