There is something about caramelized onions that significantly appeals to me. And, as I mentioned in previous posts, it’s one of those foods that I would never consider eating or cooking with until a few short years ago. In fact, when I used to prepare recipes that required onions, I would always opt for onion powder or dried onion flakes. I’ve always liked the taste and flavour of onion, but I completely despised the texture in any food.
I can recall making salsa a few years back, and as you know, onion is one of the main ingredients in salsa. I would get out my trusty blender and puree the heck out of the onion before adding it to my salsa recipe. And, whenever I would need to use red onion, I would slice it paper thin and soak it in water for as long as possible to soften it. Little did I know that soaking it for so long was ridding the onion of its flavour completely.
When I finally learned how to caramelize onions though, a whole new world opened up for me. You might think that caramelizing onions is easy, and it is, but it takes patience and time. To properly caramelize onions, in my opinion, you cannot do it without a cast-iron skillet, good butter, and a medium-low heat. Slow and steady heat turns the bitter, crunchy raw onion into a sweet, silky delicacy.
Fritters are one particular food that I love, but it’s not something that I tend to prepare regularly. I had this idea to combine caramelized onion into a light batter and pan fry it into a fritter format. And, I’m so glad I did! This recipe was fantastic; we both loved the taste, texture, and definitely, the mild spice from the aioli dipping sauce.
Caramelized Onion Fritters with Spicy Aioli Dipping Sauce
For the Fritters:
- 2 large onions, halved, and thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- vegetable oil for frying
For the Aioli:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- In a large cast-iron skillet, bring the olive oil to medium low temperature, and add the onions, salt and pepper
- Saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, wilted, and have turned a deep brown colour (be careful to keep an eye on the heat; you don't want to burn the onions - nice and slow is the way to go!)
- Once the onions are caramelized, transfer to a small bowl to cool completely
- In the meantime, prepare the spicy aioli dipping sauce be combining the mayonnaise, ginger, dried red chili flakes, and garlic in a small bowl - cover and place in the refrigerator
- Now that the onions have cooled, prepare the batter for the fritter.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, paprika, egg, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Whisk until smooth and frothy
- Add the cooled caramelized onion to the flour mixture and lightly stir to combine
- Heat the vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet
- Using metal tongs, gently pick up a small portion of the onions from the batter - aim for tablespoon size, and gently place in the hot oil
- You can fry three or 4 at the same time, but don't overcrowd the pan
- After two minutes, gently lift one of the fritters and check for a deep brown colour; if done, flip to cook the other side, otherwise, leave to continue frying for another minute
- Remove fried onion fritters and place on a paper towel-lined platter
- Continue frying until all onions/batter have been used
- Serve the onion fritters at room temperature with the chilled aioli dipping sauce