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Broccoli with Caramelized Onions

Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best. That said, I would not say that making caramelised onions is the simplest thing. They’re not difficult to make, but they are relatively time consuming, taking well over an hour to reduce the onions to melt-in-your-mouth sweetness. Rachael says that they freeze well, but I’ve never been able to resist them for more than a few hours. The house smells so amazing as they cook that it really gets me in the mood to eat them. Caramelised onions make a great addition to just about any meat, vegetable or rice dish. They can enrich simple dishes like mashed potatoes and add a surprising twist to pasta dishes.

I followed Rachael’s method, taking about 2 hours instead of three to cook the onions, steamed the broccoli and tossed them together with some pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, just like EatingWell recommended in their recipe for this dish.

While I was rather indifferent to the balsamic vinegar’s presence – perhaps I should have used a better one – I loved the broccoli with the onions. The crunch of the greens with the added flavor of the onions almost makes this elegant, which is pretty unusual for a dish of broccoli. The pinenuts were a nice touch, too. Mine were toasted, but next time I’ll look for salted ones to add a bit more interest to them.

Broccoli with Caramelised Onions

(from EatingWell’s recipe)

2 onions, peeled and sliced very thinnly

1 tsp oil

1 tsp butter

4 cups broccoli florets

1/4 cup toasted pinenuts

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium sized sauce pan, heat oil and butter over medium high heat and add the onions and a bit of salt. Once onions are coated with butter and oil and are beginning to soften, reduce heat to medium-low. Stirring occasionally, cook until onions are very soft and golden brown, about 2 hours.
While the onions cook, heat a big pot of water, salted, to boiling. Add broccoli and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Toss onions and broccoli with the toasted pinenuts, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 4-6, as a side.

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  • Rainey
    December 19, 2005

    We have something similar for Christmas dinner: a cold salad of broccoli, cauliflower and cherry tomatoes with a vinaigrette to put a little bright seasonal color to the table. Adding some caramelized onions could improve it greatly.

  • Gustad
    December 19, 2005

    i agree, simplest can mean alot. i have a saying “Great things are best naked”

  • Michele
    December 19, 2005

    What a beautiful dish! I love broccoli and caramelized onions… will have to try this!

  • lindy
    December 20, 2005

    Caramelized onions are one of those magic food things that never cease to amaze me. A complete and incredible transformation in a very simple process-toasting nuts is another example-the delicious end result is almost unbelieveable. And, like toasted nuts in baked goods, the addition of caramelized onions to savory dishes is also transforming.
    This looks awfully good.

  • Nic
    December 20, 2005

    Rainey – That sounds like a wonderful dish – with or without the onions.

    Gustad – I think that saying fits this dish. =)

    Michele – I do hope you like it.

    Lindy – You’re right! And now I’m craving some chocolate chip cookies with toasted nuts.

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