Saturday, October 1 –
Australia was wonderful and very satisfying. This dinner I made coconut shrimp and a bloomin’ onion, served with au gratin potatoes and a salad. I also made two different dipping sauces to go with the meal.
I started with the potatoes, which I cheated on and made with a boxed package because of lack of time to make them the real way. Please don’t judge me, too much at least!
Then I got started with the onion, which seemed like it was going to be pretty easy. Just like breading much of anything else, there were several steps to the process which made it important to set up all of your ingredients first. I sliced the onion open (apparently not enough times, but more on that later) and set it in a pot with boiling water. After 5 minutes I set it in ice water, and then let it drain on paper towels. Then I used cayenne, cajun seasoning, garlic salt, and pepper with the flour, the egg mixture, then the crumbs. The recipe called for the onion to chill for longer than I had, so instead of putting it in the fridge, I put it in the freezer.
Then I got started on the shrimps. Again, there were several steps: flour, beer batter mixture, and coconut flakes. Extraordinary Roommate and I got to dipping the shrimps while Wonderful Boyfriend made the salad. Once all of the shrimps were lined up on wax paper I put them to rest in the fridge. Out came the onion and it went straight into the oil I already had heated. It hadn’t “bloomed” as much as I hoped it would, so I worried that the breading hadn’t gotten all the way into the inside of the onion petals. When it came out of the oil I was proved correct, but it looked delicious anyway. I let the onion drain while I started frying the shrimps. Once they were all delicious looking and golden brown, they too were set to the side to drain excess oil.
While the onion and shrimps were frying, I quickly made two different dipping sauces. One was made with orange marmalade, dijon mustard, horseradish, and yellow mustard. The other was an aioli with mayo, lemon juice, roasted garlic, fresh garlic, and red wine vinegar. With the potatoes and salads dished onto plates, the shrimps and onion set in the middle to share, and the drinks poured – we were ready!
The shrimps and onion turned out so good that the general comments went like this: close your mouth, put your hand over it, and with your lips still sealed try to say the following, “Oh my god, this is freaking amazing!” Which sounds something like, “MmmmMMMHmmhhhhhmmmmmhhhhhhhmMMM!!!!”
The potatoes and salad were a nice switch from fried food, and helped to cut down on the amount of grease that we were eating (because fake, processed cheese is better, right?). I’m happy to say that neither the fake cheese or the fried foods kicked off a crohn’s flare, and we were all so full that we unanimously turned down the idea of even looking at dessert until much later that evening.
For drinks the guys had beer and I chose cider. I know what we were drinking wasn’t regionally correct so I won’t comment much about it. But the cider was so darn good I had to share it with you anyway. If you’re a cider lover, this is definitely one to check out.
Things I have learned: When making a bloomin’ onion, make sure you make enough slices into it or it won’t open all of the way. Ours was breaded for the first quarter of the outside petals, but not after that. While deep fried onion is good by itself, it was definitely better with breading. Also, when making the beer batter make sure you have fresh baking powder and that you use enough of it. I had made coconut shrimp before and had used older baking powder and they didn’t get nearly as fluffy and beautiful as this batch did. Definitely a good tip to remember for anything that calls for baking powder or baking soda. The two different dipping sauces plan was definitely a good idea, as it helped to cut the grease flavor but didn’t leave you with just one overwhelming flavor. If I had to do it again I think I’d make a chipotle sauce as well, maybe even a sweet and sour based one also. So more dips, making less of each.
also including the islands of: Ashmore, Cartier, Christmas, Cocos (Keeling), Coral Sea, Northern Mariana, and Tuvalu
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://australian-food-recipes.epicurean.com and www.allrecipes.com)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup beer
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups flaked coconut
- 24 shrimp
- 3 cups oil for frying
Directions: In medium bowl, combine egg, 1/2 cup flour, beer and baking powder. Place 1/4 cup flour and coconut in two separate bowls.
Hold shrimp by tail, and dredge in flour, shaking off excess flour. Dip in egg/beer batter; allow excess to drip off. Roll shrimp in coconut, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) in a deep-fryer. Fry shrimp in batches: cook, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Using tongs, remove shrimp to paper towels to drain. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.
Bloomin’ Onion Recipe
- 1 Sweet onion
- 1 Eggs
- 1 tb Milk
- 2 tb Flour
- 1 cup Cracker crumbs, crushed
- Russian dressing
Select a well-rounded onion. Peel outer skin but leave root intact, cutting off any hanging roots. With ordinary paring knife, core out top third of center. Angle knife for best results. Divide onion into four sections, by making 2 cuts crosswise, beginning at the top and cutting toward the root, stopping about 1/2-inch away. Cut each section twice again. Place onion in bowl of enough boiling water to cover it and leave for 5 minutes. The sections, or “petals,” will begin to open.
Remove onion from hot water and immerse in ice water, which will further the opening. Drain well by turning upside down on a paper towel.
Put flour into paper bag (season with any seasonings you’d like–Cajun, cayenne, plain ol’ s&p, etc), add onion and shake gently to coat with flour. Beat egg and milk; roll floured onion in egg. Put cracker crumbs in paper bag, add onion, and shake gently to coat. Refrigerate 1 hour before deep frying to set the coating.
Heat oil to 375-380 degrees. If oil isn’t hot enough, it will be greasy and the batter may not stick. If oil is too hot, outside will burn before inside is cooked. Place onion petal-side DOWN in HOT oil or use a wire basket. Cook until golden brown, 3-5 minutes.
Cooked onion can be kept for a time in a warm oven. Serve with sauce made of Russian dressing and horseradish.