Monday, November 7, 2011

Perfectly Cooked Onions

That's quite a claim, isn't it? I was going to call this post "Caramelized Onions," but after looking at a number of pictures online, I decided my onions aren't cooked long enough to be caramelized. But I did cook up an onion with kale for lunch today, and after eating it, was so in love that I immediately sliced another onion, cooked it and ate it on its own. I also walked around with my bowl, asking all my housemates, "Want to taste a perfect onion?" Silly, I know...

But I'll tell you something about onions. If you cook them on a higher heat with extra virgin olive oil (as I'm often guilty of doing), the olive oil will smoke and create free radicals, which are highly inflammatory. Not so good for a gal with an autoimmune inflammatory disorder like Hashimoto's. Not so good for anyone really. Cooking onions at a lower temperature with fats that can withstand heat is a much better option. Butter would be my fat of choice since it gives onions a wonderful flavor, but I can't do dairy these days. However, ghee (clarified butter) seems to be fine for me. Coconut oil is another fat that can handle heat well. But I don't love the taste of vegetables cooked in plain coconut oil or ghee. Vegetables with coconut oil taste too much like...coconut. And ghee tastes like I'm almost having butter, but not quite. It just tastes a little off. But mix coconut oil, ghee, and olive oil together, add salt, and you get the perfect flavor, slightly sweet and salty, just like butter. If you prefer not to cook with olive oil at all, you can always use just coconut oil and ghee, but I like the melding of all three flavors. And since I'm cooking at medium-low heat, I don't worry too much about the olive oil.

Health Benefits of onions:
  • High in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, like quercetin
  • May help protect against certain cancers and heart disease
  • High in vitamin C
  • May promote bone health (so important for women!)

    Perfectly Cooked Onions (Print-Friendly Option)

    I sprinkle my onions liberally with salt. Since I don't really eat processed foods, I don't worry about consuming too much salt. If you need to watch your salt intake, use less. And if you can eat dairy, go ahead and just use 2 teaspoons of butter instead of the ghee, coconut oil, and olive oil here!

    1/2 teaspoon ghee
    1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    1 small to medium yellow onion, sliced
    sea salt, to taste

    1. Heat ghee, coconut oil, and olive oil in a pan on medium-low heat. Add onions, sprinkle liberally with salt (I use about 1/4 teaspoon) and allow to cook for about 8 minutes, until the onions become translucent. 
    2. Turn the onions, and cook another 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
    Serves 1


    Linda said...

    I love your combination of ghee and coconut oil. I often combine oils like that. I just recently received Tropical Traditions coconut oil which has no coconut flavor. My family likes it much better that way. I never salt my onions when I sautee them. I'll have to try that.

    Jonathan said...

    For an onion lover like myself, that is quite the claim. But I definitely look forward to putting it to the test. And it was wonderful to read that you were eating what you made. :) A bowl of sauteed onions? yummmmm.

    Iris said...

    Thanks Jonathan! It is nice to actually eat the recipes I'm posting. :)

    Farty Girl said...

    Brilliant flavor discovery! It's like gluten free flour or stevia and raw honey - the right mix makes it happen.

    Onions are my favorite accessory; they make meals so much more than what they are! Like leeks, but better!

    Thanks for explaining the whole free radical crap. I hear about them all the time, but didn't really know what they are.

    Morri said...

    I just wanted to say that I made your recipe and I can't believe how great it tasted all by itself.


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