Make Ahead

Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic Compote

March 10, 2011
1 Ratings
  • Serves Varies
Author Notes

I am fairly obsessed with caramelized onions and roasted garlic and try to keep a jar of this compote in the fridge all the time. It’s terrific on pizza, tossed into pasta with cheese, mixed with some good olive oil, more balsamic vinegar and some herbs as a salad dressing, or as a base for onion soup. The recipe is presented in ratios so you can scale it up or down as you wish. As shown here, it makes about 1.5 cups of compote. —Burnt Offerings

What You'll Need
  • For every two pounds of onions, you will need the following:
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Remove the paper from the head of garlic and slice ¼ off the top of the bulb, exposing the cloves, but don’t separate or peel them.
  3. Place the head of garlic on a square of tin foil and gather it up around the bulb of garlic so the top can be twisted shut.
  4. Before closing, drizzle a TBL of olive oil onto the head of garlic.Twist up the foil and roast the head of garlic in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the cloves are soft and the shade of a dirty Californian blonde.
  5. While the garlic is roasting, thinly slice the onions – a mandolin makes short work of this.
  6. Melt the butter and remaining olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  7. Add the onions, salt them, and stir to coat them thoroughly with the butter and olive oil.
  8. Let the onions cook down until soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking onions for another 30-35 minutes until they are a deep mahogany brown – add a little water if they start to stick.
  9. In the last 5 minutes, add the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar and stir until well dissolved and caramelized - about 2 minutes.
  10. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from their skins into a small bowl and mash into a paste. Add some olive oil if needed.
  11. Mix the roasted garlic paste into the caramelized onions.
  12. Put into a sealed container. The mixture will keep, refrigerated, up to 3 weeks.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
  • boulangere
  • Burnt Offerings
    Burnt Offerings
  • Erin

5 Reviews

Erin July 27, 2018
Has anyone tried canning this? It's got enough vinegar in it to be safe in a boiling water bath, but I'd like to know if anyone has tried it.
palyn H. December 4, 2016
Made this today, following the recipe to the letter for 2-lbs. of onions . Appreciated the instructions to add a bit of water if the onions started sticking. I had the heat at medium-low for the entire cooking process, but all in all, a bit at a time, I ended up adding half a cup of water by the time the onions were done. The sweetness of onions can vary, and as they become much sweeter when cooked down, I'd suggest tasting them just before adding the sugar. The sweetness of balsamic vinegar also varies from brand to brand, so I wish I'd used only a pinch of brown sugar, as the finished compote was way too sweet for my taste. To correct the flavor balance, I added just a dash of regular wine vinegar at the very end of cooking. I'll continue to use this recipe with a few adjustments if needed. Delicious!
AntoniaJames October 31, 2012
Love this! Making a big batch next week to use on post T-Day turkey sandwiches (probably reducing the amount of added sugar). ;o)
boulangere March 14, 2011
I make something very similar and call it French Onion Concentrate. I freeze it flat in ziplock bags and use it in all the ways you do. Doesn't it make an amazing vinaigrette! I also pipe ricotta mixed with fresh rosemary into tiny ice cream cones, then top with this, and set on a catering tray filled with dry rice to hold them vertical.
Burnt O. March 14, 2011
Love the ricotta cones idea - you should submit that this week! The sugar makes this one fairly sweet. I love it on toast with cream cheese or goat cheese, mixed into an omelette, on pizza.... just love it.