Some days what I yearn for most in the midst of the pandemic has been the starter dishes from my guilty-pleasure treasure trove. The pre-movie potato skins, the post-work nachos, the "ironic" but really not all that "ironic" jalapeño popper indulgence, makes my nostalgia act up every time I drive past a strip mall. The reigning queen of fried cravings, though, has to be a blooming onion. Somehow making onion rings even more fun, the infamous onion is one of those appetizers that is known on sight alone. My rendition balances the batter and deep-fried fat with a zingy pickled element, a spicy ranch, and a depth of umami thanks to the Ramen Seasoning. Make this dish on your next #throwbackthursday meal along with steak fajitas, chicken strips or any other chain restaurant-inspired dishes.
Recipe & Photography by Kourtney Paranteau
Serves 4, as snacks
For the onion:
- 1 small red onion, sliced down the middle six times, 90º apart
- 3 tsp Jacobsen Salt Co. Pure Kosher Sea Salt
- 2 cups white wine vinegar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dredging
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- 2 tsp Jacobsen Co. Ramen Seasoning
At least three days before you'd like to fry up this bloomin' wonder, place your sliced onion into a container tall enough to fit the entire onion and cover with salt and vinegar. Let sit for a minimum of three days and a maximum of six (any more might cause the onion to begin to fall apart).
Remove your onion from the container and pat dry. In two large bowls, pour milk into one and mix the flour and panko in the other and set aside. Gently pat the pickled onion with flour, sprinkling flour into the crevices and in-between the onion "petals." Once coated, dip the onion into the milk and then coat it with the flour and panko mixture, again making sure the breading reaches the onion's interior. Repeat the step once more before heating oil to 375ºF in a large pot. Using a wooden spoon, gently place the onion into the oil and fry for five to seven minutes or until the batter turns golden brown. Remove the onion from the oil with a slotted spoon. Allow to cool on a wire rack for five minutes before eating. After plating the onion, sprinkle with Ramen Seasoning and serve along with serrano ranch dipping sauce.
For the serrano ranch:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 serranos, seeded and chopped
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp Jacobsen Salt Co. Pure Kosher Sea Salt
- 3 chives, finely chopped
In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until smooth and the cilantro leaves have mostly broken up and dyed the dip a light green. Transfer to a ramekin and sprinkle with chopped chives.