Author Topic: Adding onion to sauce?  (Read 3008 times)

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Offline RedGreene

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Adding onion to sauce?
« on: February 08, 2005, 03:49:14 PM »
I want to add onion to my sauce recipe.  Most recipes call for heating the chopped onion in olive oil before adding to the sauce base.  Is it necessary to do so since the sauce will not be cooked before baking in the oven?  Or will the uncooked onion make the sauce go bad sooner?   Any suggestions? 

Offline canadianbacon

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Re: Adding onion to sauce?
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2005, 05:41:13 PM »
RedGreene ?  ;D

My Suggestion:

Put the onion into a pan and fry it up with some oil, frying up the onion will really get out the sweetness in the onion, and release its flavours,
putting it into the sauce raw will not do that, and remember that the onion will be protected from the bottom by the dough, and the toppings
from the top.

Fry 'em up a little bit, and that will be yummy.... slice 'n' dice them as small as you can also....

« Last Edit: February 08, 2005, 05:43:25 PM by canadianbacon »
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Adding onion to sauce?
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2005, 07:25:06 PM »

I agree completely with what canadianbacon says, but will toss out a couple of other thoughts.   

Onions, like garlic, are members of the allium family. When they are cut, natural components of the onions or garlic are converted by enzymatic action into allicin, which breaks down into sufphide components, which gives the onions or garlic their strong, stinky smell. The chemicals in uncooked onions or garlic intensify with time (and more so the finer the dice) and, if the onions or garlic are left uncooked, any sauce you put them in is likely to become stronger with time and not particularly useful. Cooking seems to neutralize these chemicals and result in a more stable sauce (and a more flavorful one) when the cooked onions or garlic are incorporated into the sauce. If the sauce is to be used shortly after making, you may be able to get away with using raw onion (or garlic). But if your sauce will be sitting around a lot, or overnight, I think you may want to cook the onions.

Another possible reason for cooking the onions (or garlic)--a less Alton Brown-ish explanation--is strictly cultural. Italian cooks traditionally do not use raw onions or garlic (except for some sweet onions in salads, etc.) in their cuisine. And tomato sauce is about as Italian as it gets. So it's possible that the cooking of onions and garlic is just part of that cultural tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation through the ages.


« Last Edit: February 08, 2005, 07:45:04 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline DKM

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Re: Adding onion to sauce?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2005, 10:05:00 PM »
The above posts pretty well cover it, but the basic thing is flavor.

Raw onion taste one way
Raw onion cooked in a sauce taste a different way
Onion cooked in oil has yet another flavor.

If a recipe is telling you sauté the onion its because they think the flavor matches better then raw onion.

I'm on too many of these boards