Ok, I’m lazy–even about some things in the kitchen–like dicing onions; however, I’m not at all sure that it’s possible to cook without onions.Being out of onions is like–well, my mind simply boggles at the thought.
I use lots of onions, meaning that I cut up a lot of onions, but I’ve never understood the “usual” way that we’re told is “proper” to dice onions. I can understand it if your onions are HUGE, I suppose, or if you have a touch of OCD (I may have, but not about diced or chopped onions). I’ve always thought that onions were essentially self-dicing with little effort on my part–after all they come with layers already there. Another aspect of dicing or chopping onions–I’ve never been one to expose myself to unnecessary risk so why the cuts parallel to the cutting board? (Yes, I know that you’re supposed to have your hand on top so it’s impossible to cut yourself. Be sure to check on that the next time you’re dicing an onion properly. Where’s you hand?)
My lazy approach has always been kind of a two-part thing: First don’t buy huge onions. Secondly, I bypass those horizontal cuts, doing only the vertical cuts. For diced, do the vertical cuts close together; for chopped, farther apart. Easy!
Recently, I stumbled over a video from The New York Times Cooking Techniques on how to dice an onion that omitted those cuts. How refreshing!
Since I’m doing single-serving cooking most of the time, I often use shallots. Then there’s the truly, completely lazy way to deal with the onions. For cooking purposes when I want chopped onions I often reach into the freezer for that bag of frozen chopped onions. If I want lots of onions for something like caramelized onions, then I’ll get out the knife and go to work.