Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Add a bit at a time until it tastes really good."

For me summer = come-over-for-a-cookout-let's-have-a-campfire-who-wants-another-cocktail-OMG-look-at-the-STARS.  I've been accused of entertaining my friends too much (who has ever heard of such a thing!?) and when the weather gets warm, the evenings longer, the stars brighter, I get out of control.  This past weekend for instance I hosted a dinner for friends (one of whom is an insanely insane ex-restaurant owning cook, PRESSURE!) and a kid friendly yet interesting-enough-for-grownups BBQ for my sister-in-law and her family.  So yes, I was basically cooking/baking all weekend and totally wore myself out.  But what can you do??

An old standby that almost everyone loves is onion dip with potato chips.  Oh, she's given herself a break, you're thinking.  A little Lipton onion soup mix and sour cream and presto, so easy!  And though that sounds like something that would have gone great with the kid friendly BBQ, I actually stepped it up about 5000 notches, assembling it from scratch and serving it as an appetizer at dinner the night before.  Yes, that means I finely chopped and painstakingly caramelized onions for an hour.  Yes, that means I am crazy.  But damn was this good!  When mixed with some sour cream, greek yogurt and your desired amount of the ever exotic onion granulates, this is a decadent addictive dip for any season...especially this lovely one we are just plunging into.

Caramelized Onion Dip Recipe
by Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks, and followed pretty much to the letter, with my notes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
3/4 cup sour cream (low fat is okay, but I prefer full)
3/4 cup Greek yogurt (same deal as above)
3 teaspoons dehydrated onion powder/granulates (salt-free and natural, Heidi recommends and I second)
scant 1/2 teaspoon of salt

In a large thick-bottomed skillet (cast iron is killer here) over medium heat saute the chopped onions in olive oil along with a couple pinches of salt.  Stir occasionally with a wood or metal spatula and cook until the onions are deeply golden, brown and caramelized - about 40-45 minutes. (If they're cooking too fast, depending on your stovetop you may want to switch to medium low after a while, which I did.) Set aside and let cool completely.

In the meantime, whisk together sour cream, yogurt, onion powder, and salt.  The important thing is to add whatever onion powder you are using to taste.  Add a bit at a time until it tastes really good.*  Set aside until the caramelized onions have cooled to room temperature.  Stir in 2/3 of the onions, scoop into serving bowl and top with the remaining onions.

I agree with Heidi that this dip is best at room temperature.  Serve with your favorite hefty natural, sea salty potato chips - you'll want a burly chip that will stand up to the savory intensity of this dip.  Enjoy!

*this may be the cutest instruction in a recipe ever.  You will likely end up adding a few more teaspoons beyond the suggested amount, for maximum deliciousness.

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