Welcome to Party In My Tummy!, a month-long series of simple cooking tutorials to help you make the best of the bounty of summer! Click here to see the full schedule.
When I was thinking about topics to post, I thought that maybe "dicing onions" would be a good place to start. I use onions all the time, for omelets, salsas, mirepoix, stews and soups, and it's become good practice for me to dice onions this way. A good dice means that each piece is approximately the same size. This way, the pieces will cook evenly in a pan, or if you are using them in a salsa, like we are today, you won't accidentally end up with a big blob of onion in your bite!
1. Start with an onion! I don't peel right away. The outer layers will come off later.
2. Cut the onion lengthwise, from end to end. Work on one half of the onion at a time.
3. With the cut half down, cut off the top of the onion. I usually cut off maybe half to 1 inch or so, so I can see the layers of the onion when I'm done. You might say that's wasting quite a bit of the top, but I compost, so I'm ok with it! Once the top is cut, you'll find it a lot easier to peel off the onion skin.
4. Here's the fun part (and the dangerous part). Without cutting through to the root, make parallel slices lengthwise along the onion with a sharp knife. Because you are leaving the root intact, the whole onion pretty much stays intact as you make your cuts. I normally slice to about half an inch from the end. Do be careful though, as the layers can get slippery and if your knife is a bit dull, it can slip easily and slice off a fingernail (been there, done that)!
5. Can you see the dices taking shape? Now go back and slice the onion perpendicular to your previous cuts. The little diced pieces will just fall off on their own!
6. Continue making slices across the onion. Make sure these cuts are approximately the same width apart as the lengthwise ones you made in Step 4. That ensures the dices are nice and square and even.
7. Stop once you're close to the end of the onion, or when you've gotten to the end of your lengthwise cuts. You should have a pile of beautifully diced onions now!
Since I had these diced red onions laying around, I threw them in a bowl with some diced tomatoes, a handful of chopped cilantro and the juice from one lime. Season with salt and pepper, mix, and you've got yourself a super fresh, super yummy salsa, all ready for your Memorial Day BBQ! Kick it up a notch with some finely diced garlic or jalapeno peppers! (Maybe not the garlic if you intend on being social!)
One trick I've learned is that the salsa tastes better after it's sat in the fridge for a while, so the flavors have had a chance to blend. The salt will extract some of the liquid from the onions and tomatoes, so you'll see extra liquid at the bottom of the bowl. If you want a drier salsa, scoop out the tomato seeds and only use the flesh of the tomato in the salsa.
I hope you've enjoyed this first installment of Party In My Tummy! I'll be hosting a link party on June 20th for you to show off your own tips and tricks, so grab a button and play along!
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