Amateur cooks and foodies alike all know that onions are a versatile and essential ingredient in countless recipes. I mean, who doesn’t love the smell of onions sauteing in a pan?
Onions are the base for cooking. In the majority of recipes, they are usually the first thing that goes in the pan (accompanied by that irresistible smell). The way you prepare and use onions will add a unique depth of flavor to any dish. Whether it is quickly sauteing with other vegetables as a base, or a long slow caramelization to incorporate a sweet element in your dish.
But, as you’ve seen at the grocery store, there are a wide variety of onions to choose from. And any cook may ask, “How do I know which type of onion to use for my recipe?”. You can of course trust the ingredients list from your cooking website or cookbook of choice. However, as a culinary education, it’s better to know what exactly a specific onion works in a particular recipe.
So, we’ve decided to put together a quick guide for you to make onion shopping a whole lot easier. Here’s how to find your type of onion:
Yellow Onion (Spanish Onion): This onion has a light golden skin with yellow flesh and is normally medium to small in size. Yellow onions are a good go-to option for any recipe. But hey are ideal for dishes with long cooking times. When you add caramelized onions to that burger order, you are usually adding a yellow onion. And who doesn’t loved caramelized onions?
White Onion: Known for a white papery skin with white flesh, White Onions are typically medium to large in size. Offering a sweeter and milder flavor than Yellow Onions makes them perfect to be used in raw form. Looking to step up your Taco Tuesday toppings? The crisp and clean taste of a white onion is a perfect additive to that Pico de Gallo recipe you saw on Pinterest... When in doubt, swap for Yellow onions.
Red Onion: Unique with a red/maroon skin with dark red and white flesh, Red Onions vary in size from medium to large. Red onions are mild in flavor, less “onion-y” as others. The are widely used when raw but adds sweet, subtle flavor when cooked. Speaking of Taco Tuesday, no fiesta is complete without a little bit, A LOT a bit of GUAC. Red Onion is a key additive to a deliciously flavorful guacamole. But just like caramelized, raw Red Onion is a great burger topper.
Shallots: Pinkish skin and light purple flesh, sizes and shapes vary, but Shallots are commonly known for their bulb like shape. Once peeled, it divides into cloves, similar to garlic. Mild & sweet in flavor, Shallots can be substituted for ANY onion. Great to add to salad dressings or to roast with vegetables.
Green Onions - often referred to as Scallions differ in shape and size from their Onion cousins. Distinguished by its bright green tubular leaves attached to a small firm white bulb, they are almost always bundled together in a bunch. Green Onions present a much more mild taste than its counterparts, often compared to garlic. Being all encompassing, both the white and green parts are edible, where the bulb would be used as with any onion, for depth of flavor and the green leaves are used as a garnish and for texture. Commonly used in Asian dishes - stay tuned...we have a delicious stir fry recipe we will be sharing with you soon.
Now that you know what onion to pick out from the grocery store, it’s just a matter of incorporating each onion’s diverse uses and flavors into the dish you plan to make. And you can continue to follow and read more at QuocoNow to find our helpful hints on just how to do that.