Bloomin’ Onion

After our Italian and Mexican cooking binge over the last few weeks we decided to take our taste buds on a journey ‘down under’ for a change.  I’ve been wanting to try to make a homemade ‘Bloomin’ Onion’ from Outback Steakhouse for a while and this was the week that Katryn gave in to my demands and went on a culinary safari through the Australian outback with me.

Just kidding… a bloomin’ onion is about as Australian as a Taco Bell chalupa is Mexican.  Did you know that there are only six Outback Steakhouses in Australia?  Although I suppose it makes sense… who needs an Australian themed restaurant when you are actually in Australia? Considering that there isn’t actually any Australian fare there, eating at an Outback in Australia is probably how Australians get a taste of America and enjoy our propensity to fry everything.

That being said, our bloomin’ onion was AWESOME! There were no kangaroos or koala bears, no Crocodile Dundee or people saying “G’day Mate!” but our faux journey to Australia was tasty none-the-less.  The only adventure had was trying not to burn down our condo by starting an oil fire.  The trick is using a pot deep enough to immerse the onion in oil but not so big that you have to use 3 gallons of oil.  We used a slightly smaller pot with a little too much oil and almost had the boiling oil overflow when we put the onion in.  Be careful out there… condo fires make koala bears sad and you wouldn’t want to make an adorable koala bear sad, would you?

Katryn’s Wine Pairing:
Rating: 7.0 out of 10.0

In keeping with the ‘Australian’ theme I chose a wine from South Australia (not Yellowtail though!) This Steeple Jack unwooded Chardonnay was extremely light, dry and crisp…with faint hints of peach and melon. I thought this wine was actually too light (almost flavorless?) when tasted by itself. However, the wine was actually a nice balance and contrast to the bold and fried flavors of the Bloomin’ Onion. I wanted something refreshing in between bites of oniony goodness!

Nathan’s Beer Pairing: Foster’s Lager
Rating: 5.75 out of 10.0

Oh come on, you knew it was coming… Of course I had to pair a fake Australian beer with a fake Australian dish.  Yup, that’s right, contrary to popular belief, Foster’s actually isn’t  “Australian for beer”.  Foster’s has little to no foothold in the Australian beer market, and for good reason: it isn’t that good of a beer.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great lager to drink with something like a bloomin’ onion as it is super light, easy to drink, and washes down the oil and spice well.  However, it may as well be MillerCoorsBudLite wrapped in a gigantor 25 ounce (so manly) can.  These types of beer have their place for sure but that place isn’t in my fridge.

Bloomin’ Onion:

Ingredients:

For the dip:

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons ketchup
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon drained horseradish
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Dash of Texas Pete
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

For the Onion:

1 large sweet onion, such as Vidalia (about 1 pound)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
Dash of Texas Pete hot sauce
1 gallon corn oil

Directions:

Combine all of the dip ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
Slice the onion (see below). Whisk the flour, cayenne, Old Bay, paprika, thyme, cumin and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl. In a small deep bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, Texas Pete and 1 cup water.
Place the onion in the egg mixture and spoon the liquid over the top so all parts of the onion are coated. Place the onion in a separate bowl, cut-side up, and pour all of the flour mixture on top. Cover the bowl with a plate, then shake back and forth to distribute the flour. Check to make sure the onion is fully coated, especially between the “petals.” Lift the onion by the core, turn over and pat off the excess flour; reserve the bowl of flour.
Re-submerge the the onion in the egg mixture and spoon the liquid over the top. Remove and let the excess egg drip off, then repeat the flouring process. Refrigerate the onion while you heat the oil.
Heat the oil in a large deep pot over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 400 degrees. Pat off excess flour from the onion. Using a wire skimmer, carefully lower the onion into the oil, cut-side down. Adjust the heat so the oil temperature stays close to 350 degrees. Fry about 3 minutes, then turn the onion over and cook until golden, about 3 more minutes; drain on paper towels. Season with salt and serve with the dip.
Great instructions on how to slice a bloomin’ onion can be found here!

How to slice a Bloomin’ Onion:

1. Cut off 1/2 inch from the pointy stem end of the onion, then peel.
2. Place the onion cut-side down. Starting 1/2 inch from the root, make a downward cut all the way through to the board.
3. Repeat to make four evenly spaced cuts around the onion.
4. Continue slicing between each section until you have 16 evenly spaced cuts.
5. Turn the onion over and use your fingers to gently separate the outer pieces.

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