But in reality, it's not that difficult in terms of technique - it's really about leaving them alone. You put the butter in the pan, toss the onions in with some salt and you just let them cook over low heat. The smell is phenomenal and the deliciousness is well worth the time. And take the green beans and toss them with the onions and you now have something special and delicious.
For those who want to prepare these ahead of time, I would caramelize onions and set them aside in the fry pan. Cook the green beans and shock them in cold water to keep the green. When you're almost ready to serve simply toss the green beans in with the onions and you have a fantastically simple but delicious side dish.
Green Beans with Caramelized Onions
3 pounds green beans, trimmed of stem end (I like the pretrimmed French beans at Costco)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large onions, sliced thin
Freshly ground black pepper
Fill a large pot with water. Add a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Add green beans and cook for about 5-7 minutes; the beans should still be crisp. Drain the beans and then run them under some cold water to stop them from cooking. Reserve the beans while you start the onions.
In a skillet, over medium low heat, add butter and olive oil and heat until the butter has melted. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the onions caramelize, 30-40 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.