Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Cool Onion Dip

Some days ago, we awoke on Saturday morning to gorgeous blue skies, glanced at our long list of chores and errands for the weekend- then tore up the list and went kayaking instead. With Neighbor Girl and her sweet little dog, V and I spent 4 hours floating lazily down the muddy but serene and scenic Meramac river.

Here's a picture of Neighbor Girl's dog, complete with a doggy-sized life vest. This pup is an expert swimmer. Halfway through the float trip, she jumped out of Neighbor Girl's kayak, swam to mine, and spent the rest of the journey on my lap.

After we pulled the kayaks ashore, we tore open a picnic hamper and ravenously ate hummus cucumber sandwiches, local Billy Goat potato chips with French onion dip and fresh cherries for dessert. The dip came from a local gourmet food market and we enjoyed it so much that I looked up a recipe right away and made a batch the following weekend.

It is hard to go wrong with slow-cooked, deeply browned onions. There are so many layers of flavor here, this is what "makes" so many dishes, from biryanis to onion soup.

The recipe is based on this one from Well Fed. While writing this post, I realize that the picture I took of the caramelized onions is strikingly similar to the one on Well Fed- I guess we own the same type of pan and wooden spoon.

Caramelized Onion Dip
(inspired by Ina Garten's recipe, via this post on Well Fed) 
  1. Halve and slice 4 medium-large yellow onions thinly and saute them on medium heat in 2 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter.
  2. When the onions start browning at the edges, turn down the heat, add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste and cook on medium-low heat for 25 minutes or so, until browned nicely. 
  3. Add 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. honey mustard and cook for a minute more.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the onions cool down. 
  5. In a bowl, stir together 1/2 cup low-fat sour cream, 1/2 cup cream cheese and 2 tbsp. mayonnaise into a smooth mixture. 
  6. Stir in the onions. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
  7. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.

The combination of onion and potato is a perennial favorite, and sure enough, a classic dipper for this savory concoction is crunchy potato chips. Old-fashioned thick kettle chips are my absolute favorites; you need something sturdy to scoop up this thick dip (but if it too thick after being refrigerated, thin it with some milk or vegetable stock).

I wish there was an alluring picture for me to share here- potato chips nestled on a platter next to a bowl of onion dip swirled just so. I don't- instead, feast your eyes on this, the dip after a number of people stabbed into it. This is one of those dishes where you feel compelled to explain apologetically that it tastes better than it looks.

Because the inspiring recipe came from another blog, this post goes to Blog Bites 6: The Potluck Edition, hosted right here. I'm looking forward to trying many of my bookmarked recipes this month- they are patiently waiting to be made in my still-disorganized new kitchen.


  1. hey hows dale ? He wasn't around for here ! Missing him for quite long time now ... would love some updates ;)

  2. Oh this dip must be good. I have had a store version of something similar. Glad your kitchen is up and running so soon. Cheers!

  3. Hah! I think even untouched, it's hard to make onion dip look primped for a photo. :) But with something like that it doesn't last long enough to matter anyway. What a great way to spend a Saturday -- and I love the doggie life vest.

  4. wow, that is a very unheard kind of tip for me, great one.

  5. No apologies necessary -- I bet this dip tasted magnificent. I have been a fan of onion dip for a long time -- ever since we had the one our favorite french-fry place in Stuttgart carried (I swear, it was one of the only times I ordered fries specifically for the *dip*). This onion dip had long slivers of delicious, caramelized onions in it -- and I have always wanted a starting recipe to try to recreate it. Thanks for posting this!

  6. Nice dip... new to me. BTW Dog is looking so cute with life jacket:)

  7. good one..onion dip looks tasty indeed..we can spread it on bread and make sandwiches..like one from subway :)

  8. This sounds amazing....and so original.

  9. never had onion dip before, Sure should have tasted great..

  10. Kayaking on the river, that must have been fun. We make do with our tiny lake here, not that I can kayak any more than that anyway :)

    Onion dip looks delicious enough Nupur. I bet this tastes way better than the store bought stuff.

  11. Haha... I think we rip up the todo list a little too much in the summer at my house, too!

    The dip sounds so good, but my recent attempt at eating well make me very afraid of the mayonnaise, sour creme, and creme cheese. Do you think I could sub in some greek yogurt or goat cheese?

    Also, I think pureeing the onions might make it look a bit more appetizing.

  12. Kanchan- I'll try and post some pics of Dale this weekend, he is doing very well :)

    SS blogs here- Yes, it is very tasty for sure.

    becky- Nice to see you here! You're right, after the first bite people don't care what it looks like.

    Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal- Thanks.

    Sandhya- Ah yes, the long slivers of brown tasty onions is what makes it.

    Khaugiri- I'll tell the dog you said that :)

    Neha- Of yes, it would be a fantastic sandwich spread.

    s- Not very original, there's hundreds of recipes like it :)

    PS- It did taste great :)

    indosungod- Kayaking on this river is fun and peaceful because it is a very gentle and shallow river, good enough for me because I wanted to relax more and paddle less ;)

    Gabi- Of yes, your substitutes would work very well, I think.

  13. kayaking sounds wonderful, i have been meaning to do it for a while now. the onion dip sounds delicious with all the carmelized sweetness.

  14. My, the recipe itself was enough - no pics needed to prove anything!

  15. Tried your recipe.
    Loved the taste.

  16. Sounds like a yummy dip. Kayaking in a river sounds like lots of fun. I still don't have courage to kayak :-(

  17. Shhh, don't mention the float trip to my husband. He's been wanting to do this for the past two summers and it just never seems to happen. Maybe we'll try to make time for it before another summer floats on by!

    Food always tastes so good when eaten outdoors after being active :)

  18. I was going to ask how Dale was. My Daisy who looked a lot like Dale, you know the sweet, hangdog, who moi? typical lab look passed away last week at the ripe old age of 17, it was time. However, all of us are desperately hearbroken. So i thought i'd take some pleasure in Dale's adventures. Love the dip recipe, will be trying it for a potluck this weekend.

  19. oh yeah pretty or not..why else would we eat chips if it wasn't for the scrumptious dips.


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