In the Kitchen

All the Essential Ways to Prep and Cook with Onions

The humble onion—the start of so many dishes, from soups to sauces to salads and more—is an ingredient we are never without at Plated. Like its frequent partner, garlic, which can be prepared in a multitude of ways from minced, to chopped, to ground into a paste, the onion is just as versatile. From pungent reds to sweet yellows, there are so many varieties, all of which provide depth and aromatic flavor to many preparations. Onions are used throughout the globe in myriad cuisines, so we’re giving you the lowdown on some of our most commonly used techniques for the ubiquitous allium.

Minced

Because of their pungent flavor, onions are often minced, especially if they are being used raw. We often use minced onion in salads and salsas. (Here’s a little guide on how to do it.)

Diced

Dicing is one of the most common techniques to prep onions. In smaller, uniform chunks, onions can sauté quickly, thus making them a sensational base for soups, sauces like Bolognese, and even as a flavoring for a caramelized onion aioli. To take all the guesswork out of dicing an onion, we have this handy video, which will make you a pro in mere minutes.

Sliced

Not only is slicing an onion a bit less time consuming than dicing it, it’s an important part of so many Plated recipes. We love the sweet, nutty flavor of caramelized onions, which we almost always prepare with thinly sliced onion. For fajitas, we combine sliced onion and beef in a marinade, and then char the onion for a sweet and smoky accent. In this burger recipe, we cook down sliced onions with tomato, herbs, and honey for a sultry jam topping for juicy bison patties.

Grilled

In the summer time, we can never get enough of the grill. We love to slice onions into rings, trying to keep the pieces together, char, then add them to dishes like these grilled vegetable tacos or this grill-forward pizza.

Pickled

When submerged in a vinegar solution, onions take on the acidity, and enter a quick pickle situation—it’s the perfect bracing addition to all sorts of dishes. We love to use pickled onions to top taco-like dishes (see: these crispy shrimp lettuce wraps) or to balance the richness of these chipotle pork tacos.

Tips + tricks

– To avoid flavoring all your ingredients with onions, make it the last item you prep with your cutting board and knife.
– To lessen the intensity of red onion, you can always soak it in ice cold water for a bit before using. Or, just use less.
– Red wine and onion make for a sensational onion marmalade that’s delicious on sandwiches, burgers, and straight up with cheese!

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