Andrew: It’s an onion and it’s a flower. I-I don’t understand how such a thing is possible.
Spike: Oh, see, the genius of it is, you soak it in ice water for an hour so it holds its shape. Then you deep-fry it, root-side up, for about five minutes.
Spike: Yeah. Tell anyone we had this conversation, I’ll bite you.
–S7 Ep19, “Empty Places”, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
Spike’s Flowering Onion
- 1 Quart or so Canola or Vegetable Oil
- 1 Large Vidalia Onion (or other sweet onion)
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 Egg
- 1/2 Cup Milk
Peel the onion & cut off the top, about 1/2″ down. Place the onion on a cutting board cut-side down &, starting 1/2″ down from the core & going all the way down to the board, cut 4 deep slices equal spaces apart around the onion (making quarter sections). Next, cutting 1/2″ down again, make 3 deep, equally spaced slices, within each quadrant (aka, between each of the 4 cuts). Flip the onion over & gently separate the onion “petals”. Fill a large bowl with enough cold water & ice to submerge the onion, cut-side down. Let sit upwards to an hour, or in the freezer for about 30 mins.
Pour the oil into a large pot or little deep-fryer & heat to 400ºF (a candy thermometer is great for this if you don’t have a deep-fryer). Remove the onion from the water & par with paper towels. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour & Old Bay. In a liquid measuring cup, pour the milk & whisk in the egg until the egg white is completely broken up. Have an empty med-large bowl at the ready. Place the onion, core-down, in the bowl of flour/Old Bay, put a lid on it, & gently shake to coat the onion. Take off the lid & separate the onion petals & sprinkle more flour in between. Lift the onion & shake off the excess flour. Sit the onion, core-down, into the empty bowl & then pour the egg/milk mixture over top, covering it completely & getting between the petals. Spoon the mixture over the onion to get in all the spaces. Lift & shake off the excess & then place it back in the flour mixture & repeat the coating process, making sure to get between the onion petals.
Once your oil is at 400ºF, place the onion on a flat silicone or metal slotted spoon, core-side up, & gently lower it into the oil. Let cook for about 4 minutes & then carefully flip the onion over so the core is at the bottom & cook for about 30-45 seconds more. Remove the onion from the oil & place it, core-side up, into a mesh strainer set over an empty bowl or pot so the excess oil can drip down.
Bring the oil temperature back up to 400ºF & carefully put the onion back into the oil, core-side down this time. Use the spoon to gently press the onion to submerge it & cook for another minute or less, until it’s a nice golden brown. Remove to the strainer again, core up for a few minutes & then place right-side-up onto a paper towel. Lastly, transfer the onion to a serving plate & serve with a sauce like creamy horseradish or ranch or mayo with spices (I mixed ranch with sweet red chili sauce).
If you’d like to make a huge onion blossom platter with the sauce in the center, cook 2 onion blossoms &, when they’re done, flip them over onto the paper towels so the cores are up & use a sharp knife to carefully cut out the cores. Flip them right-side-up & lay 1 on the serving plate, expanding it to make space for the dish of sauce, & then place the other onion on top, expanding it as needed to fill in the gaps & make it all pretty & blossom-y. Place the sauce in the middle & enjoy!