Food Prep 101: Garlic & Onions

Food Prep 101: Garlic & Onions

Food Prep 101: Garlic & Onions

If you’ve cooked much at all, you probably know that garlic and onions frequently start a dish. You’ll heat up some fat, throw in onions and garlic, cook until fragrant, then add other ingredients to make it Italian, Mexican, Moroccan, French; practically any cuisine or recipe can (and probably should) start with garlic and onions.

Garlic and onions are also crazy good for you. Check out Mark’s Daily Apple for several run downs of some of the reasons that they are so great – here, here, here.

Plus, the smell of onions and garlic cooking together is one of the most comforting, homey and hunger inducing smells ever. And is an essential part of cooking garlic and onions – frequently recipes mention cooking the garlic and onions until they “become fragrant.”

There are also so many different stages of cooking garlic and onions: you can quickly toss them in a pan until they become soft and fragrant, you can cook them until golden and you can caramelize them, or stop anywhere along the way between these points.

They are so versatile and universal in cooking. Sometimes we don’t even realize they are in a dish because they are such a common background flavor from which other flavors are built. But they can also stand on their own. A nice pile of caramelized onions and garlic can be an amazing dish in and of itself.

Now that I have waxed on about the many wondrous virtues of garlic and onions, let me get into the nitty-gritty of my prep.

Since I use garlic and onions so much, and they usually require chopping or fine dicing, their prep is frequently the longest of any dish that I create. In order to cut this time down to practically nothing I pre-chop my garlic and onions. They stay fresh for a week (or sometimes more) and when done in bulk, don’t actually take that long.

 

How I do it (please play with the numbers until you figure out what works for you):

Onions, 3-4 small-medium yellow or red onions

Garlic, 2 whole heads

 

Serves: 2 for a week 

Time: up to 45 minutes (depending on your skill level)

Food Prep 101: Garlic

Food Prep 101: Garlic

Garlic:

1.     Break your garlic heads down into cloves and peel each clove however works best for you.

2.     Dice the cloves of garlic to your preferred size.

3.     Place the garlic in a sealable container and store in the fridge. Use as much as you need when you need it. 

Food Prep 101: Rough Diced Garlic

Food Prep 101: Rough Diced Garlic

Onions:

Food Prep 101: Onion peeled to the root end

Food Prep 101: Onion peeled to the root end

1.     Cut the top of the onions off and peel back the skin to the root end. (See picture to the right)

2.     Leaving the root end intact, cut the onion in half from root to top.

3.     Place the onion cut side down and slice towards the root end along the length, but do not cut all the way through.  Then cut the onion width-wise across the previous cuts until you reach the root end. (See the photos below) 

4.     If you want your onion more finely diced, then continue cutting until you reach your desired size. (In the photo below you can see how diced the onion is after just the lengthwise and width-wise cuts. I did not dice the onions anymore than that.) 

5.     Place the onions in a sealable container and store in the fridge. Use as much as you need when you need it. 

Food Prep 101: The first, lengthwise cuts of the onion

Food Prep 101: The first, lengthwise cuts of the onion

Food Prep 101: The second,  width-wise cuts across the onion

Food Prep 101: The second,  width-wise cuts across the onion

Food Prep 101: Onions diced after lengthwise and width-wise cuts

Food Prep 101: Onions diced after lengthwise and width-wise cuts

Do you love garlic and onions too? Do you cook with them frequently?

 

Here are some great recipes that highlight garlic and onions: 

Martha Stewart's great Chicken with Onions and Garlic recipe 

Roasted Garlic, Onion and Cauliflower Soup (this recipe is really great and super simple)

Fried Cabbage with Bacon, Onion and Garlic (I cannot wait to try this one!)