By Beverly Barbour
If you hear an onion ring, answer it!
Have you noticed lately that not only are there more varieties of potatoes on the market than have ever met your wondering eyes before, but that the same is true of onions. Ten years ago it was a rare woman who was having a love affair with sweet onion but today we search out and pay a premium price for the onion that doesn't bring us to tears.
My mother was so fond of the first "little green onions" that popped up in the garden each spring that she would make a meal of bread, butter, a pile of salad and a handful of scallions. That is my definition of a true onion lover.
Onions can be divided into two categories; the spring and summer fresh onions and the fall and winter storage onions. Naturally the thin, light skinned spring onions are sweeter and milder than storage onion because they have a higher water content. The older guys have multiple layers of thick, dark, paper skin and an intense flavor. Both, of course, are available in yellow, red and white.
In addition there are three onion varieties bred to be "sweet". Where perfect conditions exist in the spring three varieties of juicy, large yellow onions with a very mild flavor can be raised. Vidalia onions from Vidalia, GA., Hawaii's Maui onions and Walla Wallas form Walla Walla, WA should be rolling into our live soon if you can't find them now.
Onions delight in making cooks cry: Tearing is one of onions nasty little revenges. The way to reduce it is by chilling the onion in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then cut off the top and peel the outer layers, leaving the root in tact. The sulfuric compounds that cause tearing are concentrated in the root end.
Onions smell good when they cook; smell bad on the cook's hands: Those lingering traces of smell that onions give you when they leave your hands and go into the cooking pot can be removed by rubbing your hands and the cutting board with lemon juice or with salt.
Little Known Onion Facts: 1) High heat makes onions bitter. When sautéing always use low or medium heat. 2) A large onion weighs 10 to 12 ounces; a medium onion weighs 6 to 8 ounces. 3) A medium onion equals about 1 cup chopped onion. 4) Onions have only 30 calories per serving and have 12 nutrients in every bite.
AMERICA'S FAVORITE...ONION RINGS
Spring's "sweet" onions make great fried onion rings. Add chili peppers or chili powder to the batter if you like a little fire in your food.
2 cups all-purpose flour
Combine flour, baking powder, beer and 1/2 teaspoon of each seasoning. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. At high speed beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold white into the batter. In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs and remaining 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper; add a little chili powder if you wish. Stir to mix well. In a deep pan heat 2-inches of peanut oil to 375F. (test by dropping a little batter into the hot oil. It should immediately sizzle.) Dip rings, a few at a time, into the batter, shaking off any excess. Next, dip rings into breadcrumbs, coating evenly and shaking off excess. Place breaded rings in a single layer on a baking sheet, separating layers with waxed or parchment paper. When oil is hot, working in batches, slip the rings into hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, nor to cool the fat. Fry until golden brown and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels or newspaper. Add salt when served. Makes 6 servings.
1 cup catsup
Whisk together catsup, cayenne pepper and jalapeno.
Serve on sandwiches, in salads, with fish or meats.
3 pounds (6 to 9) yellow onions, peeled, halved and sliced
Coat 12-inch skillet with cooking spray. Over medium heat, sauté onions in oil for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring as needed, until onions are soft and light golden. Stir in seasonings. Serve warm or refrigerate. Makes 12 servings.
EITHER THE PRESENCE OR THE ABSENCE OF ONIONS CAN MAKE COOKS WEEP