PREPARING ONIONS

  • Chopped onion must be fresh
  • A short dip in water makes them easier to peel
  • Learn to chop onion like a pro – practice makes perfect
  • Crush garlic with the side of a knife
  • A cold water bath can cut down on flavor and tears

Use chopped onion when it’s fresh. After a brief time in the air, it will start to oxidize and smell bad. Frozen onion isn’t a very good idea either.

Peel small onions

Shallots and other small onions are often recommended for their good flavor but it can take a ridiculously long time to peel them. A tip: Put small onions in warm water for about 30 minutes and they’ll be easier to peel.

The art of chopping onions

Use a large, sturdy chopping board and a properly sharp knife when chopping onion. Practice the technique and study instruction films on the internet if you’re not sure what you’re doing (there are lots out there).

In the food processor, your onions will be turned into sludge rather than the small, beautiful, even-sized pieces you want in your food.

Technique matters

How badly or how well the onion is chopped plays an important role in the food experience. Small, beautiful pieces of red onion with whitefish roe on toast takes the experience to a whole new level. A large piece of clumsily chopped onion will ruin the whole thing.

Get yourself a good knife

It needs to be blisteringly sharp. If you knife is blunt, you’ll have to press so hard that the onion will slide away and the layers will fall apart. Ideally it should be so heavy that you hardly need to press at all. Choose the size that suits you. And get a decent chopping board.

Use the whole onion

Use as much of the onion as possible. The whole onion is packed with flavor, different colors and textures.

The tops are perfect in salads.
– Joel Aronsson, Fäviken, Krakas, and other restaurants

Calm down the sharp onion flavor

If you think onions taste sharp, you can calm the flavor down a bit by putting them in iced water for an hour. The sharpness also usually disappears when they’re cooked, especially if simmered for a while.

The art of peeling garlic

You’ve probably seen films on social media of people peeling a whole head of garlic in a couple of seconds by shaking it in a bowl with a lid. Try it if you like, but otherwise, do it this way:

  • Cut off the hard end of the clove of garlic.
  • Place the broad side of the kitchen knife on top of the clove.
  • Press down with your body weight behind it.
  • The peel will loosen and the raw garlic will be “crushed” and aromatic. Put it in a stew whole or chop it into smaller pieces.

Damaged onions

Don’t use onions that have started to sprout. The onion will have lost its springiness and flavor. Cut off the damaged bits and it will be fine to use the rest (unless you find mold or other clear signs that it’s gone rotten).

Onions and tears

It’s the sulphur compounds in the onion that can make you cry. How sensitive you are varies hugely from person to person. Contact lenses are said to help, unless you want to chop onions wearing a diving mask. Putting the peeled onions in cold water for a few minutes is another trick. Try it.

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