Growing up in the Midwest, I discovered the art of grease at a very young age. My mother may be a messy cook—we’ve found flour on the ceiling—but no one can fry up a green tomato or an onion ring quite like she can.
I rarely fry anything. It is mostly because of renouncing my hydrogenated past; it is partly because I can only contrast the end result to my mother’s cooking, which is forever etched into my taste buds.
I have discovered the beauty of butter.
Olive Oil is my go-to for most cooking and certainly for a light sauté...
...but for that occasional fried food—butter is my friend. My warm and creamy, rich and delicious friend.
I have found that my children’s palettes are quite different from my own—it’s like discovering a child is left handed or can’t curl the tongue…not a real problem but a perceived difference that leaves you with the “aw, man, too bad for the kid” feeling in life. By the way, I was that left-handed kid.
One of the major differences between my children’s tastes and my own is that of onions! As a young child, I cherished the wild onion found out in the fields as a stolen treat.
In the summers, my mother kept a “bouquet” of chives on the kitchen table, and we frequently munched on them throughout the hot summer days. A common greeting to my grandfather was to ask, “How are your onions this year?” He would reply with a speech not unlike a fisherman discussing his last catch: “These are the sweetest onions yet! You can eat ‘em like an apple, that sweet.” Indeed, his fried up to the best onion rings I will ever taste.
One lost opportunity, however, was the blossom. Perhaps it was because we ate them too quickly, but I do not ever remember an onion blossom in my childhood.
Gorgeous on salads, beautiful as a garnish, the blooms are quite special. The color, the flavor, and the texture join together to give something unique to the dish you are serving. My kids hate onion rings (I know, right?!) but they love the blooms as fritters because the flavor seems to be milder.
I find the blooms to be every bit as strong as any other garden fresh onion when eaten raw. But something about the fritter softens the flavor.
Whip some fresh eggs and add milk (no real ratio here, probably about half the milk to the egg volume). Dip blooms in the egg mixture and then into freshly milled flour (and my mother’s secret is to double dip back into the egg and then flour a second time!). Fry them in butter, and Oh---
You just gotta try them.