08 June 2008

Onion in Bloom

When I was a kid, we had a friend staying with us for a few years, and one of my favourite treats was when he and my mom and I would go out to dinner, because the dinner was always tasty and a lot of the time we got an appetizer. I don't know what it is about appetizers, but I always want one. When I was little sometimes I'd make my whole meal out of appetizers. One of the best places to go was Outback Steakhouse, because of the blooming onion. I loved the sweet, crispy batter-fried onion and the horseradish dipping sauce that came with it.

The other day, I found a recipe for that same blooming onion, and I decided to give it a try. I was a little sceptical after my annoyance with the oil and the fried green tomatoes, and I just generally tend to get annoyed with deep frying. Still, I really wanted that damn onion, so I tried it. It actually wasn't too bad in terms of oil issues. Since I was only frying one thing, I didn't have to worry about batches or the oil getting gross. I used a plain old decently large (but not huge) onion since it's only me, but I didn't change the amounts otherwise to make it easy. The slicing of the onion was not actually that hard, but it was really hard to get the petals to really spread. My onion ended up falling in half as I played with it, but that wasn't a big deal.

The batter was perfect, but I did discover one thing. I made an effort to really get the flour down in between the petals, but I should have made more of an effort to spread them again just before frying. The result was that the onion closed up in the oil and while the outside was delicious and crispy, inside there were sneaky bits of gluey, uncooked flour. I ate it anyway (it wasn't *that* much flour) and discovered that the spices when not actually fried taste much spicier. Yikes! One thing to keep in mind is that it's okay if your oil temperature seems to be rising quickly, because the minute you put the onion in it drops a lot. I only did mine eight minutes, and it was still nice and brown. Also a big basket-type sifter/strainer with a handle is good for gently lowering and retrieving the onion. Put it in upside down so when it's in the oil you can just turn the basket to let it out. The one thing I wasn't hot on were the amounts for the sauce. That's definitely more horseradish than I remember. Maybe I just got a spicier type, but yeah, I definitely added ketchup and may after tasting!


Holler said...

I like appetizers too. Most restaurants can be guaranteed to have some good veggie ones to try. I sometimes step them up to a main course by ordering veg or salad with them.

Kat said...

Hey tomorrow is Gay Pride day here in Boston. Hope you are doing something fun for it.

Judith said...

Holler - Yeah, I get by pretty well these days!

Kat - Ours is actually next Saturday, but Pride will probably be cancelled because the whole city is pretty much under water, haha. Luckily I live on a hill.