Like any reasonable person, I love garlic bread, but it is not the only allium-based bread you can make and enjoy. Much like their cloved cousin, onions can be transformed into a sweet and savoury, irresistible bread topping. All you need is butter, onions, heat, and time.
Caramelised onion bread delivers exactly what is promised, a healthy does of sweet, jammy onion flavour on a piece of your favourite bread (I used challah). It’s a lot like garlic bread, only it tastes like sweet and savoury onion dip, instead of sweet and pungent garlic. You can eat it alongside spaghetti, just like you would garlic bread, or you can eat several pieces all by themselves, which is what I just did.
To make caramelised onion bread, you need two small onions, a stick of butter, and some salt and monosodium glutamate. The MSG is technically optional, but it amplifies the umami in the onions. You can also get cheese involved, but I urge you to enjoy this bread in its simplest form before doing so. Let the onions shine. Let them be their deeply sweet and satisfying selves, and let yourself enjoy this simple pleasure before you start in with the lily gilding.
Caramelised Onion Bread
- 1 stick butter (salted or unsalted)
- 2 small onions, any colour
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt or fine sea salt
- Big pinch of MSG
- Bread of your choice, cut into thick slices
Take a stick of butter out of the fridge and let if come to room temperature (it should offer no resistance when poked). Slice your onions as thinly as you can. Heat oil in a large pan over low heat (as low as your stove will go). Add the onions and salt, then give everything a stir to coat the onions with oil. Leave the onion alone to caramelize for at least an hour. Do not increase the heat to speed things up: This will result in crispy, fried onions, and that’s not what we’re going for.
Once the onions are caramelised, scrape them out of the pan and let them cool. Combine them with the butter and MSG using a food processor, standard blender, or immersion blender. Whirr until you have a fairly smooth butter with little caramelised onion bits.
Grab a thick slice of bread and lightly toast it, then spread a thick layer of onion butter on top and return it to the toaster oven (or broiler, or air fryer). Toast until the little onion bits take on a touch of darkness on their tips. Eat immediately.
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