This is the most scrumptious topping for any burger, and the best filling for any omelet.
Caramelized onions, crisp and salty bacon lardons, and just the right touch of freshly ground pepper come together to make the best homemade condiment there is. The onions can be sliced lengthwise or diced, and even the bacon can be regular thickness and cut into strips instead of being thick-cut and sliced into lardons. All that matters is that the onions are caremlized not to a golden brown, but a rich mahongy. There is nothing to it other than time, and it is so worth it!
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; large sauté pan (with high sides, if possible) with a tight-fitting lid; wooden spoon
2, ¼-inch thick slices of bacon, sliced into lardons (¼-inch strips)
4 large Vidalia onions, thinly sliced or finely diced 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 teaspoon kosher salt 4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon honey (optional) kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the lardons in a large sauté pan and turn the heat to medium. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until the lardons are rendered of their fat, and crisped on the outside. Remove the lardons to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, leaving the fat in the pan, and set aside.
ILOC tip: always place bacon in cold pan and then turn on the heat. This gives you much more control over the cooking process, preventing the outside from burning or overcooking before the fat has rendered.
2. Return the pan to the heat and add butter and onions, stirring well to moisten the onions with the fat. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, mix well to combine, and cover the pan with a lid. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onions have softened and wilted.
"The amount of butter you add depends on how much fat the bacon rendered. The butter adds a delicious depth of flavor, but if there is a significant amount of bacon fat in the pan, less will be more."
3. Remove the lid, add the thyme sprigs, and stir the onions frequently, for almost 30 minutes, until they are a deep, mahogany brown.
ILOC tip: along the way, once the onions become golden brown and begin to leave some of their sugar on the bottom of the pan, add a few tablespoons of cold water to the pan to scrape the bottom immediately and vigorously, to return that fond to the onions. The water will evaporate quickly. You might need to do this several times throughout the cooking process. Leave nothing on the bottom of the pan...better jam and better clean-up! It's all about technique, not torture.
4. Once the onions are mahogany brown and significantly reduced in volume, remove the thyme sprigs (you may return the thyme leaves to the onion jam, if desired). Stir in the reserved lardons, season with freshly ground black pepper and more kosher salt if needed. Stir in the honey, unless the jam seems sweet enough.
Makes approximately 2 cups.
Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks, or make in advance and freeze immediately after it cools.