The Sweet Onion Source

Editors:  FRESH OSOSWEET ONION SAMPLES AVAILABLE 
Contact Rodger Helwig fresh7@comcast.net or call 415-379-9630 to receive a dozen (10 lb.) large OsoSweet Onions or four (4 lb.) onions via UPS. For further media-related information visit www.sweetonionsource.com.

Recipes in this release:

  • OsoSweet & Crunchy Beer-Battered Onion Rings – PHOTO BELOW
  • OsoSweet Wasabi Onion Rings with Asian Dipping Sauce
  • Baked OsoSweet Pretzel & Mustard Rings
  • OsoSweet Smoky “Tobacco” Rings
  • OsoSweet Coconut Rings with Marmalade-Mustard Dipping Sauce
  • OsoSweet “Rings-in-the-Raw” with Basil

Batter Up!
America’s Love Affair with Onion Rings is Oh So (Oso) Sweet (But Hurry, the Season is Short!)

SAN FRANCISCO (January 19, 2006) - Let’s face it, onion rings are lip-smacking good; what self-respecting family restaurant doesn’t offer them on the menu? Ever tried making them yourself? It’s a snap, but you’ll need the right onion. 

OsoSweet Onions are fast becoming the premier “ring-onion” for home cooks and restaurateurs.  There’s a trick to making a great onion ring, and luckily, OsoSweets solve a lot of the problems people experience on their own. But hurry, the season for OsoSweet onions is short – just January through March.

Flavor is first and foremost. Not every onion makes a good ring. The sweet, fruity flavor of an OsoSweet onion produces a delicious center that doesn’t overwhelm your choice of batter. 

The second secret to a good ring is texture. An OsoSweet holds up better in cooking than other sweet onions.  The crisp texture and shape is maintained throughout cooking to produce a satisfying crunch with no soggy, slippery results. Your rings hold up for their important job, dipping!

The third key is digestibility. Tummies rejoice! Because of their low acidity, OsoSweets are easier to digest than other onions.

A cook’s bonus? They are virtually tearless when cut. 

Mmmm. It’s onion ring season! Try preparing one or more of these recipes at home; from the basic to the gourmet. By using the right onion, one is destined to become a classic in your recipe repertoire with everything you need to know to make outstanding onion rings.

HOW TO BREAD
Set up three bowls: the first for flour, the second for the eggs or batter, the third with two-thirds of the crumbs or other coating. If you are right-handed, set up the bowls from right to left; if you are left-handed set them up from left to right. Next, set up a wax paper-lined tray to deposit the rings.
Use your dominant hand (right or left) as the “dry” hand and your other as the “wet” hand. Using your “dry” hand, dip the ring into the flour and shake off the excess. Using your “wet” hand, dip the ring into the eggs or batter and allow the excess to drip off. Finally, again using your “dry” hand, dip the ring into the crumbs and arrange in a single layer on the tray.

When the crumbs get wet, add the remaining dry crumbs to the bowl and continue until all the rings are breaded. Refrigerate the breaded rings for about half an hour to set the coating before frying. (Refrigerate the breaded rings at this point for cooking later the same day or the next day.)

CHOOSING FRYING OIL
Refined canola oil is a good choice for deep-frying, which is done at about 365º F. because of its light taste and high smoke point (about 425º F). Refined soy oil (often labeled vegetable oil) is another good choice, with a smoke point over 450º F. Many chefs choose refined peanut oil for deep-frying, because of its high smoke point (440º F) and pleasing nutty flavor. However, some people have an allergy to peanuts. Avoid solid shortening which is hydrogenated and contains transfats and unrefined or “cold-press” oils, because they will have a much lower smoking point.

HOW TO DEEP-FRY
Heat the oil in a large wok, electric deep-fryer, a sturdy pot that holds at least 1 gallon, or a large deep skillet, such as a chicken fryer, until it reaches 365º F on a candy/frying thermometer, and is shimmering. Hold your hand 3-inches above the oil; the air should feel hot. Test by adding one breaded onion ring to the oil: if the oil bubbles vigorously, it is ready.

Add the onion rings, one at a time to the oil, without crowding, working in batches if necessary. Fry until golden brown, turning each ring over once, so they brown evenly.  Don’t crowd the rings in the oil, which will drop the temperature.  You’ll end up with lighter, crisper, more evenly browned rings.
Scoop from the oil, using a Chinese brass wire skimmer, slotted spoon, or tongs. Drain, preferably on a wire rack. Keep warm in a 250º oven till ready to serve.

TIPS FOR DEEP-FRYING
When deep-frying, your instinct would be to drop the food in quickly and move back. However, this can be dangerous, because the oil can easily splash. Instead, carefully reach down to about 2 inches from the surface of the oil and lay the food in the oil, one piece at a time, without crowding.

Remember that foods bubble up when frying, so don’t fill the pot more than one-third of the way from the top. A pot that splays out at the top is a good choice so that there’s less volume at the bottom to be filled with oil, and more volume at the top to allow for bubbling up.

Start with fresh oil. Do not use burnt or very dark oil, which will result in greasy onion rings. Note that experienced fry-cooks strain their frying oil and add a portion of it to the fresh oil, for better browning. Use about 1 cup of strained oil to 3 cups of fresh oil.

To strain the oil, arrange a paper towel-lined metal sieve placed on top of a second metal pot. Carefully, while still the oil is still hot and thin in consistency, pour through the paper towel. Cool the oil to room temperature, then store in a clean, dry glass jar until ready to use again.  Always combine strained oil with fresh oil before using again.

ABOUT FRYING BATTER
The easiest way to make a frying batter is to combine all the ingredients in the jar of a blender and blend till smooth.

Rest the batter in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, so that the gluten (or elastic protein) developed by beating the flour in liquid can relax, making for a more tender batter. Also, working with a batter that has thickened in the cold of the refrigerator, less flour is needed to fully coat the onion rings, making for a lighter batter. In fact, tempura batter often contains small chips of ice for this very reason.

RECIPES
Developed for OsoSweet Onions by Aliza Green

OsoSweet & Crunchy Beer-Battered Onion Rings
Makes 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS
1 bottle (1 1/2 cups) dark beer
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large OsoSweet onions, sliced 1/2-inch thick and separated into rings
1 quart canola oil, for deep-frying
Salt, or fine popcorn salt to taste

METHOD
Place the beer, eggs, cayenne, flour, and baking powder in the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, beat together the beer, eggs, and cayenne. Stir together the flour and baking powder and whisk into the beer mix. Chill the batter in the refrigerator at least half an hour.

Preheat the oil to 365º F according to the directions in How to Deep-Fry. One by one, dip each onion ring into the batter, allowing the excess to drip off and immediately add to the oil, without overcrowding. Fry about 6 minutes, turning each ring over once so they brown evenly, until light golden brown.

Using a Chinese brass wire skimmer, slotted spoon, or tongs, remove the rings from the oil and drain on a wire rack. Keep warm in a 250º F oven until all the onions have been fried, sprinkle with salt to taste, and serve immediately.

OsoSweet Wasabi Onion Rings with Asian Dipping Sauce
Makes 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup wasabi powder or paste (Japanese green horseradish)
2 extra-large eggs
2 large OsoSweet Onions, cut in ?-inch thick slices and separated into rings (chop the ends finely to add to the dipping sauce)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups Japanese panko breadcrumbs
1 quart canola oil (for frying)

METHOD
In a bowl, stir together soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, teriyaki sauce, and wasabi paste. Mix 1 cup of the mixture with the chopped onions and reserve for the dipping sauce. Lightly beat together the remaining 1/2 cup with the eggs.

Set up three bowls, the first with the flour, the second with the egg mixture, and the third with 2 cups of the panko breadcrumbs and bread according to the directions in How To Bread.

Fry in hot oil, following the directions for How to Deep-Fry. Serve with the reserved dipping sauce.

Baked OsoSweet Pretzel & Mustard Rings
Makes 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS
1 bottle (1 1/2 cups) dark beer
2 extra-large eggs
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups finely crushed pretzel crumbs (any kind, made in the food processor)
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 OsoSweet onions, cut into ?-inch thick slices and separated into rings
1 quart canola oil, for deep-frying

METHOD
Place the beer, eggs, mustard, cayenne, flour, and baking powder in the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, beat together the beer, eggs, mustard, and cayenne. Stir together the flour and baking powder and fold into the beer mix. Chill the batter in the refrigerator at least half an hour.
Mix the pretzels crumbs with 4 tablespoons canola oil and reserve. Spray a large metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Preheat the oven to 400º F.

Follow the directions above in How to Bread and bread the rings, dipping first in the flour, then the batter, and finally, into the pretzel crumbs, making sure to coat all over, and adding the remaining dry crumbs as needed.

Arrange the rings in a single layer on the baking pan and bake 20 minutes, or until the rings are lightly browned and crisp, and serve immediately.

OsoSweet Smoky “Tobacco” Rings
Makes 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS
2 large OsoSweet onions
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sweet Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon chile powder
2 teaspoons chipotle powder (smoke-dried red jalapeño powder) or pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika) or more chile powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 quart canola oil, for frying
Salt, or fine popcorn salt, for sprinkling, to taste

METHOD
Slice the onions as thin as possible with a knife, a slicer, or the slicing blade of a food processor. Separate the onions into individual rings and reserve. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, paprika, chile powder, chipotle or pimentón powder, cumin, and garlic.

Preheat the oil to 365º F, following the directions above in How to Deep-Fry. Toss the onion rings with the seasoned flour. Remove from the flour, shaking off the excess either by shaking through a large-holed sieve or colander, or by lifting out with your fingers and shaking. Only the flour clinging to the onions should be left.

A few as a time, drop the floured onions into the hot oil, so that they don't stick together, without overcrowding the pot. The oil will bubble up; once the bubbles die down, add more onion rings, working in batches if necessary. Fry 5 to 8 minutes or until the onions are crispy and deep reddish brown, stirring occasionally so they brown evenly.
Using a Chinese brass wire skimmer, slotted spoon, or tongs, remove the onions from the oil and drain on a wire rack. Keep warm in a 250º F oven until all the onions have been fried, and then serve immediately.  

OsoSweet “Rings-in-the-Raw” with Basil
Makes 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS
2 large OsoSweet onions, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 cups crushed ice
Salt to taste

METHOD
In a bowl, combine the vinegar, crushed red pepper, and ice. Mix with the onion rings and enough water to cover the rings. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain well, mix the onions with the basil and salt to taste, and serve. Use as a garnish for salad, add to sandwiches, or munch as is.

OsoSweet Coconut Rings with Marmalade-Mustard Dipping Sauce
Makes 6 Servings

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cups sparkling water or plain soda
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large OsoSweet onions, sliced 1/2-inch thick and separated into rings
3 cups (about 1 pound) unsweetened dried coconut
4 cups canola oil, for frying

Marmalade-Mustard Dip
2 tablespoons grated ginger, or 2 teaspoons ginger powder
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup diced OsoSweet onions
1/2 cup Dijon mustard

Combine all and reserve.

METHOD
Place the sparkling water, eggs, cayenne, 2? cups flour, and baking powder in the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, beat together the sparkling water, eggs, and cayenne. Stir together 2? cups flour and the baking powder, and fold into the water mix. Chill the batter in the refrigerator at least half an hour. (Meanwhile, prepare the Mustard-Marmalade Dip below.)

Mix the remaining 2 cups flour with the salt, pepper, and cayenne. Set up 3 bowls: one with this seasoned flour, the second with the reserved batter, and the third of coconut. Follow the directions above in How to Bread and bread the rings, dipping first in the flour, then the batter, and finally, into the coconut. Repeat until all the onion rings are coated and arrange in a single layer on a wax paper-lined tray.

Preheat the oil to 365º F according to the directions in How to Deep-Fry. Add the onion rings to the oil, without overcrowding. Fry about 5 minutes, turning each ring over once so they brown evenly, until light golden brown.

Using a Chinese brass wire skimmer, slotted spoon, or tongs, remove the rings from the oil and drain on a wire rack. Keep warm in a 250º F oven until all the onions have been fried, sprinkle with salt to taste and serve immediately with a bowl of the Mustard-Marmalade Dip.

About Aliza Green
Aliza Green, Philadelphia-based cookbook author and pioneering chef, is the author of six cookbooks. The latest book in her series, which includes Field Guide to Produce and Field Guide to Meat, Field Guide to Herbs & Spices (Quirk Books) has just been published. Her BEANS: More than 200 Wholesome, Delicious Recipes from Around the World (Running Press) was given top marks by the New York Times. For more information, visit www.alizagreen.com.

Oso (oh so) Sweet Onions are grown in the Andes Mountains in Chile, where just the right combination of rich, volcanic soil, ideal climate and pure water provides the perfect conditions for growing a "world class,” sweet onion. Imported by Saven Corporation, Waterford, Michigan, OsoSweet Onions are available from January through March in jumbo and colossal sizes in supermarkets and produce markets throughout the U.S.

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OsoSweet & Crunchy Beer-Battered Onion Rings

©OsoSweet Onions