Friday, November 21, 2008
It's no secret that we Americans are a fan of the fried onion. Walk into any restaurant in the U.S. and you'll find onion rings, onion straws, or a giant onion blossom. And there's a reason! Sweet, soft and sharp onions contrast perfectly with the crispy salty rich crust that only frying can give you. With all these perks, everyone should have a great fried onion recipe in their repertoire, even if they are just an occasional treat. These steal the show, even though they act as a side to crispy calamari. Using the same marinade, breading and oil for both saves time and makes this completely painless (Plus if you're gone ruin quarts of oil you may as well make the most of it!)
Classic Onion Straws & Crispy Calamari
3 cups of low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
Blend together to combine. Set aside.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp cracked black pepper
2-3 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp paprika
Mix together in a large plastic bag. Set aside.
1 extra large sweet onion such as Vidalia
marinade & batter
vegetable oil for frying
Slice the onion to your desired thickness. I prefer about a quarter of an inch thick rounds. Separate rounds into a shallow dish or bowl. Pour over a little more than 1/2 of marinade. Let sit at least 10 minutes.
In a tall stockpot (very important as the oil tends to foam up when these go in), fill with oil until it's about 5 inches deep. Use a deep fry thermometer to preheat oil to 375 degrees F.
Use tongs to pull onions out of marinade, let them drip off and put them into the breading bag. Seal the bag and toss around to coat the onions. Shake off flour by the handful and fry (only one handful at a time) until golden. Let cool on an upside down baking rack on top of a double layer of premium paper towels. Try not to devour them before dinner.
1 lb. frozen calamari rings (I get mine at Trader Joes), thawed and drained
one lemon, cut into wedges
1/2 cup banana peppers (or less, to taste)
Toss calamari in marinade. Use tongs to let it drip, then toss in remaining breading (add a little more flour if needed). Once oil is up to 375 degrees (no lower or calamari will get rubbery before it is golden!), fry until golden- no longer than 3 minutes. Serve hot with lemon wedges for squeezing over it and hot peppers to be eaten with it.
Make sure the oil has cooled completely before disposing of it. It's biodegradable, so it won't hurt to dump it in the corner of the yard. And your pipes will probably thank you that it didn't go down the drain.