pan-fried onion and chive dip
Over the last few years – well, since we moved into a bigger house — I’ve learned that I love to entertain. There is something special, something completely gratifying, about opening up one’s home to friends and family with the sole purpose of sharing friendship and good food, whether it’s an entire meal or just a few snacks.
Because of my work schedule, I look for recipes that I can make in advance, either in the day or two before I plan to serve the dish or at least the morning of the event. I prefer to have all of the kitchen work done when that first guest rings the door bell. Some of my favorite make-ahead appetizers include these dates stuffed with chorizo and wrapped with bacon and this spinach and artichoke dip from Cooking Light.
Before my husband’s 40th birthday in October, I went on the search for a new appetizer to add to my somewhat limited repertoire. I found a recipe for pan-fried onion dip by Ina Garten and knew that it was the recipe to try. My husband would be happy to dip his chips or veggies into dip made of a packet of dry onion soup mix stirred into a carton of sour cream – his own specialty – but I just couldn’t bring myself to go that route.
I increased the amounts of the ingredients in the recipe to accommodate the larger group of guests that I was hosting, and I decreased the amount of oil that the onions are cooked in. There was still a fair amount of oil, so straining the onions of excess oil after they are finished cooking is essential.
I was tempted to call the recipe a Caramelized Onion Dip, but it’s really not. These onions, as you can see from the photograph, are truly just pan-fried. For the onions to be caramelized, I would have needed to sauté them for a bit longer to get that golden caramel color.
I added some chives to the onion dip for color, sprinkling some on the top as well, and the onion dip was just right. It’s great with chips, especially the kettle-cooked type, or with fresh veggies, and I served it with both. And thankfully, my husband – the man who is incredibly resistant to change (i.e., new recipes) – liked it.
Yield: About 3-1/2 cups.
Pan-Fried Onion & Chive Dip
Adapted from this recipe from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa.
3 large Vidalia onions (or other large sweet onion)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1-1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise [I used Hellman's Light Mayonnaise]
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives [or more or less, depending on your taste]
Cut the onions in half and then slice them into 1/8-inch thick half-rounds. Feel free to cut them in half again if you'd like smaller pieces in the finished onion dip [you should have about 5-6 cups of onions]. Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper, and saute for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 30 minutes more until the onions are somewhat browned. If you wish, you can cook them longer, until they caramelize [see Helpful Tips, below]. Allow the onions to cool, and strain the onions to drain them of any clinging oil and butter.
Place cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Stir in chives. Serve at room temperature.
If you like this, here are two more onion dip recipes you may want to try out:
- Caramelized onion dip by Elizabeth at Guilty Kitchen.
- Caramelized onion dip by Jennie of In Jennie’s Kitchen.
For more information on caramelizing onions, check out these:
- Elise at Simply Recipes has a great post on how to caramelize onions (with video!).
- Georgia Pellegrini also shows us how to caramelize onions.