Things We Missed: Mini Blooming Onions

Going gluten free can sometimes mean giving up some of your favorite foods. But in a lot of cases that’s not actually true. You just have to learn to make them yourself! Which is why I’m here to tell you that if you’re a big fan of onion rings, blooming onions, and the like, I have a recipe for you to try.

If you want just the recipe, click here.

When I first met my in-laws and we talked about food, one common topic was “Things we miss”. They didn’t miss much, just a handful of things that you can’t really find gluten-free in stores. Like doughnuts, ice cream sandwiches, or onion rings.

Because I really enjoy baking and cooking, I decided to pursue remakes of all their “missed” things. And so far I’ve been very successful. But onion rings eluded me for several reasons:

  1. I didn’t (and still don’t) have a deep fryer.
  2. Chopping onions is a loathesome task.
  3. I couldn’t figure out how to batter an onion ring if I got that far.

So, I pursued a different route.

Let me introduce you to “Mini Blooming Onions”

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Tastier than the look too!

It took a while to sort out the correct recipe, and I referenced a lot of blogs and re-makes. Notably Macheesmo.

So without further delay, here’s what you need:

Ingredients:

  • Miniature white onions
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Pillsbury gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Oil for frying (I used canola, but I suggest sunflower again, it is lighter)

You will quickly notice that most of the ingredients listed are spices. If you are going to live the gluten-free life, spices are a necessity. Lots of safe foods like potatoes and rice are fairly bland on their own. Also, gluten free flours have different tastes (as I explained last week) so you will need spices to adjust your flour’s flavor sometimes.

I will address an “essential” spice list later on, but know that they are worth investing a little money in and last you through many many meals.

Preparing the Onions

Not gonna lie, these onions take some prep work. BUT they didn’t make me cry nearly as much as most onions do.

Pro tip: If onions make you cry, chew some mint gum while chopping. It floods your sinuses with mint and neutralizes the acid from the onions that you’ve been smelling.

Step One: Remove the root of the onion. Cut it short, you don’t want to lose any tasy onion bits!

Step Two: Peel the onion. This was the most time consuming. You want to remove all the papery top layer, and the filmy second layer. I recommend having a sharp knife nearby for getting under the skin.

Step Three: Cut into eighths. You can see in the 3rd picture how deep my cuts go. You don’t want to break the onion apart, just allow it to flower.

Step Four: Set it to soak in a mixture of the two eggs and buttermilk. This softens the flavor and gives your flour mixture something to stick to.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat for all your onions. I had two pint containers, but if you have more you might want to put on a movie or an audio book. This takes a while.

The Frying

Blend your flour and spices in a bowl until well combined. I like using a fork for this.

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Set Up an Assembly Line:

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To the right of this is my stock pot full of oil heating up. That is our next step:

Heat a large pot of oil to 350° You will need some form of thermometer as the temperature has a tendancy to drop if you put too many onions in at once.

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There are a few ways to do this from here. You could dip all your onions in flour and set them aside for frying. Or you could dip four-to-five onions in flour, get them going, and then dip more while you wait.

I went for the latter plan.

In order for the onions to “Bloom” you must squish them a bit and spread the “petals” out, making sure flour gets into all the little nooks and crannies.

Let your onions fry for four minutes. You can flip them around a few times so they brown on all sides, especially if your oil isn’t deep.

I used a metal slotted spatula to fish them out of the oil, but you could use a strainer or slotted spoon. It’s only important that you use metal so that it doesn’t melt or burn in the hot oil.

Pro Tip: Let your oil “rest” between each batch and get back up to temperature. Putting cold onions in the oil makes it cool, and so it needs to rise again before it will cook another batch.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Eventually you will have a nice, tasty batch of Mini Bloomin Onions! I hope you take the time to try this and enjoy them. They’re absolutely scrumptious. Let me know how you liked them in the comments below.

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