Deep fried frizzled onions are the shaved white truffles of us normal folk. Stack these fried onion strings mile high on your average backyard burger and, like magic, you’ve transformed it into the most luxe item you’d find at your average Applebee’s. Scatter onion strings atop canned green beans and you’ve gone from depressing TV dinner side to beloved holiday classic. So why not bring fried onion strings to breakfast? How about a smattering atop your schmear for a French onion bagel, and maybe gild that lily with some lox? Or what about a nice over-easy egg slipped between two toasted halves of a toasted English muffin, stuffed with frizzled onions and some sort of tomato-based condiment? Keep onion strings in baggies in your glove compartment to stuff in your drive-thru breakfast burrito.
The process for making fried onion strings is easy, but you’re going to want to make sure you have all your stuff together before you start. Otherwise you’re going to end up running around your kitchen with flour-caked hands and onion eyes screaming about third-degree burns.
What you'll need:
Really sharp knife or mandoline
Salt and pepper (And, if you want to live on the edge, another spice. Garlic, paprika, cumin—go wild you crazy bastards.)
Lots of canola or other high heat oil
Your trusty frying pot (complete with handy-dandy fry thermometer)
Spider or fry basket
Sheet pan lined with a whole bunch of paper towels
How to do it:
First you’re going to want to get your oil ready for deep frying. Please tell me you already know how to do this. I can’t be holding your hand right now since the star of this article is onions, and they do not like sharing star billing.
Slice those onions nice and thin–we’re talking ⅛” or less. Anything larger is onion RINGS, which is a totally different article. (It will be the same exact article, except I will tell you to slice the onions thicker.)
Put them in the bowl and separate them with your fingers into individual rings. Once separated, add flour 1/2 cup at a time while continually tossing until they’re all completely coated. Doing it this way keeps you from ending up with a bowl of wasted excess flour and a bunch of gluey, stuck together onion bits.
When the oil is hot (this is what thermometers are for), gently shake off some onions and gingerly plop them in. Let them frizzle, stirring occasionally, until they’re browned to your liking. This won’t take too long so you really don’t need a timed measurement. You’ll spend more time setting the timer than you will frying your onions.
Remove the onions to the sheet tray that’s been lined with paper towels, then hit it immediately with salt, pepper and spices. Toss them around a bit to coat, then spread them out to cool. The spreading is key, since if they’re left in a pile they’ll steam, and then they’ll be soggy and gross.
Repeat over and over until everything is fried and your house smells like onions.
Once the onions are completely cool, you can move them to a sealed container; put a crumpled up paper towel in there to absorb any extra moisture that may sneak inside. They should last a few days, though they’ll probably be gone within 15 minutes.