Onions always make my roommate cry. ALWAYS. I can tolerate working with white onions, but I have been shopping yellow onions more often since they are cheaper, but boy they also make me cry.
Ruhlman does go a bit long into explaining the power of the onions: how they transform simple solutions into real soups; how they bring body to some dishes, and bring others down; how a slow fire can metamorphose them into a relish, by extracting the liquid inside of them and with it the sugars that would later caramelize them. Me? All I did was read ONION SOUP and started cooking. I did not use his version though, based in the French origins of the soup, when poor peasants would steam onions in their own liquids until soft, and then with a dash of wine and some water they would have a concoction that would melt the stalest of bread. I used Health-Bent’s which substituted the bread for some cauliflower.
Also, with a good thinking through, this dish is basically effortless. While the onions are steaming (low heat, really low heat) you can divert your attention to the cauliflower, boiling it to soften it a little bit, and then shredding it into cheese. I used a mozzarella a friend had given me and the last of this week’s eggs.