August 30, 2016

Blooming Onion

Australia: It's not just for being a jerk while playing Risk
Australia has given us some great things over the years. Kangaroos. A fantastic Simpsons episode. And probably other things. Also, thanks to Australian-American restaurants, blooming onions. Sure, some random diner in New Jersey claims that they invented it in the 70s, but that story has some problems, like how suspiciously far from Australia this diner is, and the fact that I don't know if it's true or not. So I'm assuming it was dreamed up in some dingo-encrusted office at Outback Steakhouse's corporate office. Which I'm totally ok with, because they did an awesome job. It's like an onion that's wrapped in fried deliciousness, and blossomed into the best thing ever. And then gave you a free car. And like 6000 superfluous calories. So it's exactly like Oprah.

Ingredients:

1 cup Flour
3 Eggs
1/2 TBSP Smoked Paprika 
1 tsp Salt
1 large human being's pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Onions! (Yes, this recipe makes enough flour and eggs for more than one onion. Yes, that is a good thing, because after you serve your guests the first one, they'll immediately decour it and want another. Assuming you have guests, and aren't just sitting home alone making party food in an ever-growing sea of sadness and fry oil.)
Oil for frying! Any relatively neutral oil with a high smoke point! Like peanut, or canola! 

 The first thing you're gonna need to do is increase your insurance coverage. Because onions are pretty much full of water, and we're pretty much dumping one in a vat of oil. As you may remember, oil and water have a complicated relationship, whereby they try to kill each other, and then kill you for introducing them. Yes, you can help mitigate this by cutting your onions ahead of time and letting them sit in a sealed container overnight, but you're not gonna do that (For the record, that also would have helped your fried bits cling to your onions. Oh well). The point is, you're either gonna burn yourself, your house, or some combination thereof today. Isn't learning fun? Once you've made peace with your impending doom, whisk together your salt, flour, cayenne, and paprika in a bowl. Then take a separate bowl and whisk your eggs in it. You may be wondering where the onion comes in, given that it's a title character of this little adventure. The answer is now, or more accurately at the beginning of the next paragraph.

Chop the head off of your onion, and peel off its outer layer, like you're some kind of sadistic spanish-inquisition style torturer who's trying to convert onions to Catholicism (For those of you now wondering about onion anatomy, its butt is the brown, round, kind of stringy bit on the bottom, and the head is the bit at the top where the excess skin forms a narrowing point. Just like with people). Take a spoon, hollow out your onion's "core," (read: heart) and cut wedges into it, being careful not to cut all the way through to its butt. I know that was a little complicated, so I'll wait here for a few seconds while you re-read it a couple times and make sure you've got it down. Ready? Cool. Now comes the fun part, and by "fun," I mean "kinda of gross at first, and then a healthy mix of terrifying and potentially deadly." Take your onion, and dunk it in your flour mixture. Make sure to get it in all the nooks and crannies. Use a spoon to help you if you need it. There's no shame in relying on spoons. I'm hardly judging you at all. Once your onion is floured, set it aside for a couple minutes. Use this time to heat up your oil in a pot. How much oil? Enough to cover your onion. How big of a pot? Big enough to hold your oil and onion together. And yes, a smaller pot will mean it'll take less oil to cover your onion, saving you as much as one shiny dollar. But you'll have to make a deal with some sort of cruel and malicious deity to eyeball the amount of oil just right. Otherwise, it either won't cover your onion and you'll end up with garbage, or you'll have too much oil, which will spill all over the place, burning your hands, kitchen, and probably soul. All of which you'll then have to spend an hour cleaning up afterwards. So maybe go with a normal sized pot. 

Don't get me wrong, this tasted awesome. Anecdote over.
Using either a deep fryer, a candy/fry thermometer, or the maniacal guesswork of the damned, heat your oil to 350 degrees. Then take your onion (Remember your onion? It's a recipe about your onion), and dunk it in your egg mixture. Then, like two different OCD personalities trapped in one body, dunk the onion back in your flour mixture, again being certain to get floury goodness into every bit. Toss (or, you know, carefully and gently place) your onion into the oil, and fry it at 350 for about 10 minutes. The whole thing should kind of bloom open like it's inviting you into the halls of deliciousness, or, depending on the previously mentioned deity you made a deal with, valhalla. And that's it! Drain it on a rack, or a plate with some paper towels, grab your favorite dipping sauce (I like sriracha-mayo), and dig in. The pleasant ambiance of the warmth and gentle glow from your burning house is an added bonus.