Monday, August 21, 2006

Red Onion Confit

The bottle of 8-year old balsamic vinegar that I have says "vinegar", but it's so rich and thick that I call it syrup. If you don't have a well-aged balsamic vinegar, you can reduce a young balsamic vinegar by more than half, until it is thickened, and approximate the taste in this onion confit. But it really won't taste the same so do consider purchasing a bottle of the good, well-aged stuff.
I made this red onion confit to accompany my recipe for Pt. Reyes Original Blue Stuffed Pork Chops. It compliments the tangy, creamy blue cheese perfectly.

1 medium red onion, peeled and halved stem to stern
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon good olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar (or 1/2 teaspoon Splenda Sugar Blend)
2 teaspoons, or more to taste, well-aged balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt to taste

Thinly slice each onion half cross-wise into half moons.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium low heat.
When the butter is hot, add the onions, stirring to separate, and allow to cook slowly until tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes or more.
Add the sugar and the vinegar and stir, cooking until the onions are practically melting. Keep the heat adjusted so the onions don't burn. You want soft, tender onions with no burned edges.

When the onions are done, season to taste with the kosher salt.
And that's all there is to it! You can do more by adding herbs, orange zest and/or juice, but this is the basic, simple, unadorned result and it's delicious all by itself.
A note about the sugar. Many of you know that I'm a Splenda gal but when it comes to caramelizing, sugar is really the only choice. The Splenda Sugar Blend will do okay, but you won't get the rich, caramel-y consistency and taste that you do with sugar. For low carbers, the addition of this very small amount of sugar won't do damage, especially when paired with a protein like these pork chops.