The Dip for a Book Club That Dips (Caramelized Onion Dip)
Dip, as defined by Merriam-Webster: to examine or read something casually or superficially.
A few years ago a friend from high school invited me over to a small gathering at her apartment. She said it was her weekly “Book Club.”
Me: What’s the book? I don’t think I’ll have time to read it before Saturday.
Her: Don’t worry, it’s just an excuse to get together with friends and eat and drink. We don’t even pretend to read a book.
Me: Okay. Are you a classy book club that drinks wine or are you a klassy book club that drinks cheap beer and margaritas made from cheap tequila?
Her: Somewhere in between, we drink everything, but it’s the good quality booze.
I figured sparkling wine was fitting. Who doesn’t love a good bubbly? (Btw, Schramsberg is my personal favorite.)
I’ve been in a book club before. I actually enjoy them. However, it seems most people use the pretense of book club to hang out and eat and drink. And I’m fine with that. I love reading, but I like parties even more.
While there were delicious cocktails and great conversation, the thing that stood out the most was the onion dip my friend made. She took onions, chopped them up, and mixed them with some seasoning, mayo, sour cream, and Swiss cheese. Then she baked it until it was golden brown on top and molten cheesy on the inside. While this was awe inspiring and perfect as it was, I made a few changes and have been serving it since.
Caramelized Onion Dip
- 2 large onions, somewhat finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Garlic, finely minced (I like garlic so I usually use 4 or more cloves, but feel free to use less)
- ¾ cup mayo (I hope you use Best Foods, because that’s the best)
- ¾ cup sour cream (I wouldn’t recommend using a low-fat sour cream since it’s just not the same and this is so far beyond calorie laden it probably doesn’t matter)
- 1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper (feel free to use more or less based on your preference for spice, this amount gives a very mild heat)
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 4ish cups Swiss cheese (Trader Joe’s sells a packaged blend of Swiss and Gruyere that’s dirt-cheap and is roughly 4 cups that I always use)
1. Caramelize the onions (be sure to lightly coat in olive oil and season with salt and pepper). I find I can usually watch a 30-minute sitcom during this process (Modern Family preferable). Just stir during the commercial breaks. You want them to darken in color and bring out the natural sweetness. They should resemble a caramel color. Towards the end of the cooking process, you’ll want to add the minced garlic. It doesn’t matter if the garlic cooks completely, because the dip will be baked later on. Let mixture cool.
2. Mix together remaining ingredients and cooled onion mixture, stir, taste, adjust seasoning. Transfer to oven-proof dish. I usually use a glass Pyrex thingy. At this point you can cover the dip and refrigerate it for a few hours or a day (if you’re preparing it in advance).
3. Bake in an oven, preheated to 350, for about 40ish minutes. You can usually watch an episode of Breaking Bad or two episodes of Big Bang Theory (so long as you’ve DVR’d and can fast-forward the commercials) while the dip is baking. When the episodes are done, so is your dip!
4. This dip is best served with pita chips and potato chips. You’ll want to let the dip cool slightly before you devour it. When it’s fresh out of the oven it’s really hot and rather difficult to eat due to intense strands of cheesiness.
Notes for leftovers: A few weeks ago three of us ate almost the entire serving of this. Healthy, I know. However, there are great things you can do with leftovers in the rare event you have any. It’s delicious mixed in with mashed potatoes with a fried egg on top. Once I wrapped it in some frozen puff pastry with some spinach…. very delicious and it was healthy because it had spinach.