Tuesday, December 30, 2014

For a truly hype night, bring on the Onion Dip

New Year's Eve is one of those nights that is supposed to be a really big deal, full of champagne and fancy parties and being dressed up and fabulous.   Friends will make clever toasts, everyone in the ballroom will laugh a lot, and there is an off chance that your best friend will show up and propose.

In reality, I find it's a night that rarely lives up to the hype*. Restaurants jack up prices. Bars are slammed with desperately eager fun-seekers. The amateur drunks hit the roads. Hundreds of thousands of crazy people deliberately stand around freezing their collective asses off to watch the clock strike twelve with strangers.

I don't get it.

My kind of New Years Eve involves very little hype. I've had wonderful celebrations that ended at 9:30 pm so our toddlers could turn in, cozy nights at a local bistro with my husband, evenings with cracked crab and vintage wine in a friend's home, pajama parties with my cousin and my sister listening to Casey Kasem counting down the biggest hits of the year, and a memorable turn-of-the-millennium getaway where all but one of the guests came down with the plague at the same time. It was a like a bad British farce, with vomiting, and we still talk about it to this day with some degree of fondness.

Truly, you don't need a glittering disco ball falling from the sky or a big band in tuxedos to usher in the new year. Just grab your friends, open a good bottle of booze, share a great meal, then curl up on the couch or play a rousing game of Celebrity. Toast each other, reflect a bit, vow to be better, and kiss someone you love as the night grows quiet.

Of course, if you still need it to feel like a big, hyped up party, kick the evening off with a bowl of chips and this killer onion dip.

Homemade three onion dip | Cheesy Pennies

All the truly hype parties come with onion dip.

Three Onion Dip on a Chip | Cheesy Pennies

Three Onion Dip

by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes, plus an hour to allow flavors to blend.
There can be the fanciest appetizers imaginable at a party, and I'll go for the Ruffles and the Lipton's Onion Soup dip every single time. Taking it up a notch in creaminess and flavor, Trader Joe's Caramelized Onion dip is absolutely delicious and you don't even have to open an envelope and stir anything.  Given how much I love these near-instantly available standbys,  I was skeptical about taking an hour to make this recipe from Bon Appetit, but boy is it worth it, especially for a big deal celebration.  The glorious sweetness of the caramelized onions, plus the tang of the scallions and the oomph of earthiness and salt from the anchovies take this one over the top. Last time I made it, the guests were scraping the bowl to get every last drop, they were that hyped. My version is adapted very slightly from the original.

  • 2 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 4 scallions, green and white parts separated and chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ c. mayonnaise
  • ⅓ c. plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • ⅓ c. sour cream
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Crinkle cut/ruffled potato chips (for serving)

Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions, anchovies, and garlic. 

Cook, stirring often, until onions are golden brown and softened, 40–45 minutes. If onions start to burn or stick, reduce heat and add water a splash at a time, scraping up browned bits.

Let cool, then finely chop.

Meanwhile, heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Toss chopped scallion whites with remaining 1 tsp. oil; season with about 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook, turning from time to time, until charred, about 5 minutes.

Mix caramelized onion mixture, charred scallion whites, sliced scallion greens, mayonnaise, yogurt, sour cream, chives, and Worcestershire a medium bowl; season with additional salt and pepper as needed.

If you have time, allow flavors to blend for an hour or so in the fridge, then garnish with some extra sliced green onions or chives. Serve with chips.

By the way, it's OK to serve right away if you can't wait.

Real life example of person who couldn't wait.

* There was exactly one year, when I was single in New York, that blew the hype out of the water.  Let's just say there were penthouses and furs draped on beds and me hanging out with some seriously fun people who might later have been arrested.


  1. I totally agree about your New Year's assessment, even though I do love it. All that fresh start and clean slate that the new year brings. Also, this recipe looks amazing! I'm with you, as well, on the virtues of ready-to-serve onion dip, but this does indeed look worth the effort. Thank you, and cheers to an excellent 2015.

    1. It's definitely the kind of night where I always have hope, which is kind of magical. Happy New Year to you too. Can't wait to see what it'll bring for you and Sadie!

  2. anchovies scare me, but man, this sounds delicious! i would park myself right beside it and just never talk to anyone unless they came to me. :)

    1. Anchovies are significantly less terrifying when they are hidden in this dip. I promise.