Onions, they seem like one of the most boring vegetables out there right? But you would be surprised by just how complex they can get, after all, a wise ogre once said that onions are complicated, but not because of the fact that they have many layers. Onions exist in several varieties; red, white, and yellow, each type has its own distinct taste that makes it a great ingredient if used correctly. The fact that onions come in variety allows us to become infinitely more creative with our recipes since many dishes make use of onions in one way or the other.
Let’s take a look at each onion type, the key differentiating factors that give each onion type a distinct characteristic and how can we incorporate these characteristics into our food. By the end of this read, you will be able to figure out how to make the most out of every onion that comes your way, allowing you to make your dishes all the more delicious.
White onions have next to no colouration in them, hence their name, these onions have an incredibly mild taste which makes them perfect for salads, sandwiches and any other dish that does not have you cook your onions. Despite being the mildest type of onion out there, white onions still have a bit of sharpness that might not appeal to some people, fortunately their taste can be diluted even further by slicing them up thinly and then leaving the slices in cold water for an hour.
After getting soaked, white onions lose all their sharpness and are left with a sweet flavour. Whenever a recipe calls for sweet onions, you should use this soaking method on white onions in order to get just the right flavour that the dish needs.
Red onions are much more potent than white onions, meaning that their sugar content and sulphur content (responsible for the sharp flavour and smell) is much higher when compared to white onions. A red onion’s stronger taste makes it a superb choice for when you want to pickle your onions; pickled red onions are significantly sweeter than any other type of onion, they also taste great when barbequed. Grilled red onions look tantalizing thanks to their reddish hue and grilling them does not result in their inner texture becoming all mushy.
Yellow onions or Spanish onions are the strongest of the three, they have an excessively high amount of sulphur which results in a strong sharp smell and even sharper taste. These are the onions that you should go for whenever your food requires completely cooked onions. Cooking yellow onions results in their taste becoming more bearable, in fact yellow onions begin to taste fantastic when cooked or sautéed as they retain their distinct oniony sweetness better.
You should keep in mind that while each type of onion has its own flavour, you do not necessarily need to become strict about what sort of onion to use in order to become a good chef.