French Onion Dip recipe from Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook
The Editors of SAVEUR magazine on French Onion Dip:
Our favorite recipe for this classic dip showcases onions three ways: fried, roasted, and fresh.
I didn’t grow up eating gourmet food cooked by my mom. For one thing, in the 60s and 70s I don’t think there were too many mothers following blogs (well, of course, there weren’t blogs back then) and worrying about cooking the most-Pinned recipes for their families. There was amazingly good home-cooking, yes. But quick foods were actually the trend: Tang and Pop-Tarts were popular, and I loved them both. In my more “sophisticated” teen years, as I started to attend social events, the main attraction for me was onion dip. You read that right: I couldn’t get enough of the ever-present and hugely popular dip made with sour cream and Lipton Onion Soup Mix — a dry mix that looked ready to go up into space along with Tang (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it).
Writing this post, I discovered that the dip was actually first called “California Dip” (in the mid-1950s) and was not even created by the Lipton Company. Here’s a quote from back in the day: “Imagination and ingenuity go hand-in-hand when you are planning a party menu. And the canapes you serve to whet guests’ appetites should be given free reign on both counts. Here is a delightful development in the ‘dunk and dip’ department that will have the crowd pleasing their crackers for more. It is an original hors d’oeuvres that combines a package of onion soup mix and a pint of sour cream, both available at the corner grocery store. And it takes but a minute to mix–happy news for the harried hostess! She can either mix it up at the last minute or make it a bit before the party and then tuck it away in the refrigerator. This mixture should be kept chilled until you use it. To make a sizeable bowl of this delicacy called ‘California Dip,’ stir a package of onion soup mix, just as it comes from the package, into a pint of commercial sour cream and blend thoroughly. Place the bowl in the center of a big round wooden platter and surround it with a piquant variety of cheese crackers, corn chips, melba toast and potato chips. Give it a gay garnish or snipped parsley for looks and serve with a flourish. This basic recipe can also be varied by blending a three-ounce package of cream cheese thoroughly with the onion soup mix and half-pint of sour cream. The subtle blend of flavors and creamy consistency make this dip a delightful beginning to the rest of the menu. Try it once and see how it adds to your laurels as a hostess.”
Gotta love it. And then, thanks to Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook, I discovered that this dip can be made “from scratch”! Who knew? A tasty touch to this version is that the onions are both roasted and pan-fried. And the sour cream is joined by not only mayonnaise but also cream cheese. Whoa! Warning: this recipe requires a 4-hour (or overnight) set time and involves roasting (for 45 minutes), pureeing, and frying — there is no “but a minute” here. Still, as you might suspect, the taste difference is significant. My one complaint (other than the time requirement)? I know raw veggies are the healthy thing these days, but I’m sorry, only Ruffles With Ridges will do for me. Call me a purist…
French Onion Dip
Featured Recipe From: Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook (More Than 1,000 of the World's Best Recipes for Today's Kitchen)
Yield: Makes about 3 ½ Cups
4 medium yellow onions, 2 quartered lengthwise, 2 finely chopped
1 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup mayonnaise
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1⁄2 cup sour cream
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco sauce, to taste
4 scallions, minced
Cut raw vegetables, such as cucumber, carrot, and cauliflower, for serving
1. Heat oven to 425°. Toss quartered onions with 2 tbsp. oil on a foil-lined baking sheet, and season with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until soft and slightly caramelized, about 45 minutes. Set roasted onions aside to cool.
2. Purée roasted onions in a food processor until smooth. Add mayonnaise, cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, and pepper, and purée until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
3. Heat remaining oil in a 10′′ skillet over medium-high heat. Add finely chopped onions and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, about 16 minutes more. Transfer onions to a sieve set over a bowl to drain; discard oil or reserve for another use. Transfer fried onions to paper towels to drain.
4. To serve, stir two-thirds of the fried onions and the scallions into dip, and transfer to a serving bowl. Top with remaining fried onions and serve with raw vegetables.
© 2014 Weldon Owen
Reprinted with permission from Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook (More Than 1,000 of the World's Best Recipes for Today's Kitchen), by The Editors of SAVEUR Magazine (Weldon Owen)