I'm probably in danger of becoming the person who brings the same damn thing every time you invite her to your party. Luckily, the same damn thing isn't salsa I bought in the grocery store; it's homemade caramelized onion dip, and extra luckily, it's capital-R-A-D rad.
My recipe is based on Ina Garten's dip, with slight alterrations (more onions, a little balsamic vinegar or beer). Trust me, if you think onion soup mix + IMO sour cream substitute = onion dip, you need to try this.
Caramelized Onion Dip
4 large sweet or yellow onions (of course we use Walla Wallas when they're in season), sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 T butter
1 T olive oil
2-3 T balsamic vinegar (depending on your taste) *OR* 1/4 cup beer
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
8 oz sour cream at room temperature
8 oz mayonaisse
salt and pepper
First caramelize onions:
Over medium-high heat, melt butter with olive oil in a metal (not nonstick!) pan. Make sure to add the oil and butter at the same time--you need the oil's higher smoke point to not burn the butter. Add the onions and cook, without stirring too much, for 10 minutes.
Do not add salt during this time. Salt causes onions (and food in general) to release water, and you do not want watery onions. Instead, the heat of the pan will sear the juices into the onions. Allow the onions to sit on the pan to create the fond, aka the "brown bits."
After the onions have gotten nice and golden (and your entire house smells like heaven), add the vinegar or beer and season generously with salt. Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the onions to continue to caramelize. Again, you don't need to constantly be stirring--allow them to sit on the pan.
Once the onions are dark brown and sweet, remove from heat, taste and adjust salt. Grind some fresh pepper into them and allow the onions to cool.
In a bowl or a food processor, mix the mayo, cream cheese and sour cream. If mixing by hand, chop 2/3 of the onions and add to mixture. Otherwise, add 2/3 of the onions to the food processor and pulse several times. The onions should not be pureed.
Mix in the remaining sliced onions by hand, reserving a few for the top of the dip. Mix and taste for seasoning. Serve warm or cold with Tim's Cascade or Maui Onion chips. YUM!