Bloomin’ flavors

The only time you’ll cry from these onions is when they’re all gone.

Treats for dad: Try these bloomin’ onion recipes for Father’s Day.

Happy Father’s Day to all dads…

I gave my father $100 and said,

“Buy yourself something that will make your life easier.”

So he went out and bought a present for my mother.

— Rita Rudner

Sometimes, onions can make you cry. Not a problem, if you’re making a bloomin’ onion. Those tears are for joy. Only the cleanup is sad.

I first encountered the bloomin’ onion some years ago while celebrating Father’s Day. Although there are knock-off recipes like the Awesome Blossom or the Texas Rose, the best Bloomin’ Onion was first invented by Outback Steakhouse’s founder, although a steakhouse in New Jersey has claimed some of the fame. Regardless, if your dad is a bloomin’ onion fan, here is a version of that onion recipe that he might enjoy.

LIKE A BLOOMIN’ ONION

1 very large onion

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1½ tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1 egg

1 cup milk

Canola oil

Cut the Onion:

Cut 1 inch across the top of the onion and peel off the skin.

Put the onion cut-side down on a cutting board.

Beginning 1 inch below the hairy root (which is now on top), slice into the onion and cut down through the onion to the board. Repeat this cutting procedure to make 4 evenly spaced cuts in the onion. Repeat again to make cuts equally spaced between the previous 4 cuts. (That’s 12 section cuts of the onion.) If you can, continue slicing equal sections until you have 16 sections.

Turn over the onion and gently peel open the onion “petals” with your fingers, working from the outside of the onion in toward the center.

The Batter:

Mix together the flour, salt, cayenne, paprika, oregano, cumin and pepper. Set aside.

In a small, deep bowl (large enough to hold the onion), beat together the egg and milk. Set aside.

Assembly:

Put the onion on a plate, cut side up, and pour flour mixture onto the onion, making sure to fully coat between the “petals.” Turn over the onion to remove excess flour mixture, and reserve the excess flour mixture.

Snip off excessive root hairs.

Fully submerge the coated onion in the milk-egg mixture, holding it down, if necessary. Turn onion over so all the onion is wet.

Remove onion from milk mixture, and sprinkle with the remaining flour mixture.

Cooking:

Heat enough oil in a deep pot, wide enough to submerge the onion.

Make sure the oil has reached and maintains 350 to 375 degrees (a candy/fry thermometer works well here), and fry the onion about 10 minutes, turning if necessary, carefully watching until the onion is golden brown and crispy.

Remove and drain on paper towels.

And, of course, there’s got to be a dipping sauce to accompany the onion.

DIPPING SAUCE

3 Tbsp. mayonnaise

3 Tbsp. sour cream

1 Tbsp. ketchup

1½ Tbsp. horseradish, drained

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. oregano

Mix together all ingredients. Refrigerate to serve with the onion.

If your dad really likes onions, try this sauce. It is also good served with crudite, chips or crackers. Serve with cut vegetables for a healthy, preservative-free snack.

ONION DIPPING SAUCE OR DIP

3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup dried chopped onions

2 tsp. dried onion powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. chopped chives plus extra for garnish

Mix and whisk together all ingredients well.

Chill for an hour or more before serving so the flavors have a chance to blend.

Top with extra chives before serving.

Eat well, live long, enjoy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Times, 2 Executive Campus, Suite 400, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002)