Cooking with Vidalia Onions

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Crispy Vidalia Onion Rings with Salsa Brava (Enough for 4)

By Chef Kevin Gillespie

Ingredients:

  • Canola oil for frying
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold club soda or seltzer water
  • 8 ounces young Vidalia onions, sliced and separated into ¼ inch rings
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup salsa brava (recipe below)

1. Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 350ºF. Place a cooling rack over the baking sheet and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk the cornstarch and flour until combined. Add a few ice cubes to the club soda and swirl to chill it through. Remove the ice cubes and whisk the club soda into the cornstarch mixture to form a smooth batter. One at a time, dip and swirl the Vidalia onion rings in the batter to completely coat them. Allow excess batter to drip off, then drop the onion rings, one by one, into the fryer and fry until crispy, about 1 minute. The crust won’t brown, but you’ll have a crispy, light coating on your onion rings. Using a spider strainer or tongs, transfer the onion rings to the cooling rack and immediately sprinkle with salt.

3. For each plate, swoosh a tablespoon of salsa brava down the side of the plate and mount one-quarter of the onion rings in the center. Or for a more casual presentation, serve the onion rings on absorbent paper and the salsa brava in a small bowl.

Salsa Brava

Ingredients:

  • 14 ½ ounce can whole tomatoes
  • 12-ounce jar piquillo chile peppers, drained
  • 2 heads (about 12 cloves) garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons fennel pollen
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Espelette pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked serrano chile powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup olive oil

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend the tomatoes and their juice, the piquillo peppers, garlic, vinegar, paprika, fennel pollen, salt, Espelette pepper, serrano childe powder

and cinnamon, about 5 seconds. The mixture should be a little chunky and loose. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. The mixture should be fairly smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let the flavors develop for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning with additional salt and vinegar as needed. Salsa brava should have an aggressive, strong flavor because it is used in small amounts to punch up the flavor of a dish.

Creamy Roasted Vidalia Onion Soup (Serves 6)

By Chef Kevin Gillespie

Ingredients: 

  • 2 lg. Vidalia onions ¼ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1 clove garlic 1 ½ qts. chicken stock
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • chives for garnish

Wrap onions in foil and roast in a 400-degree oven for 1 hour or until very tender. Remove from oven, remove foil and squeeze onion out of its jacket directly into the carafe of a blender. Add mascarpone cheese, garlic, salt, and stock. Blend on high until very smooth. Adjust seasoning with lemon juice and additional salt if needed. Serve warm with thinly sliced chives and a grind of black pepper.

Caramelized Vidalia Onion Dip

By Chef Kevin Gillespie

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 baseball sized Vidalia Onions, sliced thin
  • 1.5 cups full fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 tsp Aromat seasoning
  • 1 dash worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced chives
  • Kosher salt
  • Baking soda

Melt butter in a pan. Add onions, a pinch of salt, and a tiny pinch of baking soda. Cover and cook for 2 minutes. Remove cover and cook until the onions are deep golden brown.

Add all ingredients, except chives, to the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth. Remove from food processor and fold in chives. Adjust seasoning with more salt if necessary. Serve chilled with root veggie chips.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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