I use these addictive fried onions as a garnish for all kinds of dishes. They are the ultimate embellishment to soups, chiles, burgers, rice pilafs, and even mashed potatoes.
I suppose Frizzled Onions (coined Tobacco Onions by noted Southwest chef, Dean Fearing) are the lazy cook’s version of onion rings–much simpler and less messy to make.
In any case, you definitely want Frizzled Onions in your cook’s arsenal of crowd-pleasing tricks. And if you end up eating an entire batch yourself on occasion (crunch crunch), no one will blame you.
While it isn’t absolutely necessary to coat the onions with flour and rice flour, it makes it easier to obtain a lovely golden brown color without burning the onions and also adds a pleasing crunch.
Ingredient Note I discovered the magic of rice flour for coating French fries and other fried nibbles long ago while noshing the incredibly light and crisp fries at Anthony’s HomePort on Lake Washington. They are still the best I’ve ever tasted. I asked the server what accounts for the unique texture, and with his answer I ran back to the OtherWorldly Kitchen and amended most of my recipes that called for a flour coating prior to frying. I even reengineered my fried chicken recipe, now titled LunaCafe’s Spicy Fried Chicken, which subsequently won first place in a Twitter challenge.
Ingredient Note Leeks (white part only) and shallots can also be frizzled.
1 large yellow onion, skinned and thinly sliced
½ cup vegetable oil, and more as needed fine sea salt
cayenne, other chile powder, and/or ground cumin, optional
unbleached, all-purpose flour
white rice flour
- Heap the onions on a large, edged baking sheet and salt generously. Dust with chile powder and/or ground cumin if desired. Sprinkle on a small handful of flour, and toss to coat. The onions will still feel a bit damp. Sprinkle on rice flour and toss again to combine. You can’t use too much, as any excess will simply not adhere.
- Set another edged baking sheet lined with paper towels next to the stovetop. Set metal tongs (fine tongs if you have them) and a perforated, offset, metal spatula next to it.
- In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil until a drop or two of water sprinkled on the surface crackles. (If you have a deep fryer, by all means use it. Of course you will need a lot more oil.)
- Add onion, a few strands at a time, in order to maintain the temperature of the oil. If your skillet is large, you should be able to frizzle about half an onion at a time. In any case, don’t overcrowd the onions.
- As the strands begin to turn a golden brown, use tongs and perforated spatula to remove them to drain on a stack of paper towels. (Fine tongs or metal chopsticks work great for removing only one or two strands at a time.) Don’t let the onions become too dark, or they will taste burnt.
- Continue until all of the onions are frizzled. As they drain on the paper towels, they will become crisp. When thoroughly cool, you can keep the onions at room temperature, covered, for several hours.
Makes a heap.
Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)
- Nourished Kitchen: Onion Bisque with Frizzled Leeks & Rosemary
- Spoon with Me: Butternut Squashadillas with Frizzled Onions and Sage
- The Big Apple: Dean Fearing’s Tobacco Onions
- The Chile Trail: Spicy Lentil Soup with Smoky Frizzled Onions
- The Last Wonton: Frizzled Onions