Quick, Which Onion Do I Use?
Many people I know like to cook with onions, but one has to wonder what the best onion would be for what dish and how you would choose. I had wondered this myself until I saw a picture on Facebook that explained it for me and then it started to make sense. Yes, the picture explained it for me too, but did not tell me why. That takes some contemplating to figure out.
For instance, the Sweet Onion is great for Onion Rings (my favorite way to use this one), gratins (a type of crusting used in cooking), and using in Roasted Vegetables, but one has to think to know why. The reason is that frying this type of onion brings out a sweet flavor, so it is good on its own fried or baked with other vegetables, which when baked is similar to frying them.
Now, the Red Onion has a great flavor all by itself without cooking it in any way shape or form. So, it is best to just cut it up and pair it with Guacamole, Pickled Onions (I recommend in baby form), salads (I’m a big fan), or on sandwiches (I recommend subs or burgers). If done right, it adds flavor to the dishes without taking away from them. As you can see, I have my favorite ways of using this particular onion. And, the Red Onion is a favorite of mine, I must admit.
If you are looking for something to add a big crunch with a lot of zings to your dish, then a White Onion is the way to go. It’s commonly used in salsas (I enjoy this a lot in the mild form), chutneys (an Indian sauce that varies in style), and stir-fry (it’s interesting what you can combine in a stir-fry). As you can tell, I enjoy this one a lot as well, mostly in stir-fry and salsa, which I find both delicious. I must admit, I have yet to try a chutney or any Indian food.
Most of you who cook with onions probably use the Yellow Onion, which is the best all-around cooking onion. It fits best in meat roasts (because it works well with most meats), sauces (always welcome in my pasta sauces), breaded meat dishes (will be trying this when I do one of these dishes), and soups (I have had many a good soup with this in it). It gives a good flavor without being too strong and influences the other flavors of the dish at the same time. This is another onion I use a lot as well.
Let’s face it, I like onions in my cooking.
Now shallots I am not so familiar with though, they are said to be milder and more subtle. They are recommended for use in vinaigrettes (not a bad type of dressing, though not a personal favorite), egg casseroles (good if you are making a breakfast version), and garnishing (never tasted anything in the onion family in this fashion). I will try a shallot with my next Breakfast Casserole, but that is the only way I see me using shallots anytime soon.
Experiment with some of these specializations and find what works best for you. Maybe these recommendations will add flavor as well as a new-found enjoyment to your dishes. You might be surprised. It’s always fun and enjoyable to find new surprises in cooking.
Also, when cutting up onions it is recommended that you plug your nose to avoid crying, since it is the smell that makes your eyes water. Now speaking of onions, I think I will go eat some Onion Rings.
*Tips his hat and walks out the door hungrily*.