It all started with a tweet. The Food Network tweeted their recipe recreating the Blooming Onion from Outback Steakhouse. I love the Blooming Onion, so I couldn’t resist taking a peek. Oh, I wish I hadn’t! Because while my mouth watered, my arteries hardened just from reading the ingredients. I don’t want to know! A gallon of oil? Seriously? That’s just depressing. Delicious but depressing.
I wondered whether I could come up with a lighter version of this recipe. Full disclosure: my version is not as delicious as the real thing nor, presumably, as the Food Network’s. However, it has much less fat and really tasted pretty great. I was proud to serve it to guests, and their compliments seemed sincere. I wouldn’t call this health food, but at least you won’t have to have a defibrillator on standby when you eat it.
Oven-Baked Onion Blossom
1 large sweet onion
2 C flour
1 t garlic salt
1 t cayenne
½ t thyme
½ t ground cumin
½ t pepper
1 C milk
2 T mayo
2 T butter
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the top off the onion. Peel, then turn cut-side down onto a cutting board. Spear the knife into the onion about half an inch from the uncut bottom. Slice down to the cutting board. Using this method, cut the onion into pieces about the width of your pinkie finger. (But don’t slice your pinkie finger!)
Combine the flour and spices in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and set aside. Combine the eggs, milk, and mayo in the smallest bowl you have that will fit the onion with the liquid. Mix well. Put the onion cut-side down into the egg mixture, then rotate so the cut side is up. Spoon egg mixture amidst the onion wedges, separating the wedges with your fingers, getting egg everywhere you can. Then hold the onion upside down over the bowl to allow the excess egg mixture to drop off. Put the onion into the Ziploc bag with the flour and shake gently to coat. You may need to open the bag, separate the wedges, and close it to shake again.
Place the onion cut-side up onto a cookie sheet. Drizzle with 2 T melted butter. Bake until golden brown all over. The tips of the onion wedges may get very dark, but that’s okay. You need to cook the onion long enough to soften the pieces thoroughly so they’re easy to pull from the blossom.
Serve immediately with your favorite salad dressing for dipping.