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Appetizers Perfect for a party or a start of a meal.

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Old 09-18-2007, 01:52 PM
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Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Onion

Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Onion

by Todd Wilbur

If you go to an Outback Steakhouse expecting exotic Aussie prairie food that someone like Crocodile Dundee would have enjoyed, you're gonna be a bit disappointed, mate. Except for a little Australia-themed paraphernalia on the walls, like boomerangs and pictures of kangaroos, the restaurant chain is about as "down under" as McDonald's is Irish. The three founders, Tim Gannon, Chris Sullivan, and Bob Basham, are all U.S. boys. And the menu, which is about 60 percent beef, contains mainly American fare with cut Australian names like The Melbourne, Jackeroo Chops, and Chicken on the Barbie.
The founders say they chose the Aussie theme because "Most Australians are fun-loving and gregarious people and very casual people. We thought that's exactly the kind of friendliness and atmosphere we want to have in our restaurants.

In only six years, Outback Steakhouse has become our number one steakhouse chain -- in part because of the Bloomin' Onion: a large, deep fried onion sliced to look like a flower in bloom that was created by one of the restaurant's founders. What makes this appetizer so appealing besides its flowery appearance is the onion's crispy spiced coating, along with the delicious dipping sauce, cleverly presented in the center of the onion.

Although the restaurant use a special device to make the slicing process easier, you can make the incisions with a sharp knife. It just takes a steady hand and a bit of care.

Serving: 2 to 4 as an appetizer or snack
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ketchup
2 tablespoons cream-style horseradish
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
Dash ground black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper

The Onion
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1 jumbo sweet yellow or white onion (3/4 pound or more)
Vegetable oil for frying

1. Prepare the dipping sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Keep the sauce covered in your refrigerator until needed.
2. Beat the egg and combine it with the milk in a medium bowl big enough to hold the onion.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, peppers, paprika, oregano, thyme, and cumin.

4. Now it's time to slice the onion - this is the trickiest step. First slice 3/4 inch to 1 inch off the top and bottom of the onion. Remove the papery skin. Use a thin knife to cut a 1-inch diameter core out of the middle of the onion. Now use a very sharp, large knife to slice the onion several times down the center to create the "petals" of the completed onion. First slice through the center of the onion to about three-fourths of the way down. Turn the onion 90 degrees and slice it again in an "x" across the first slice. Keep slicing the sections in half, very carefully, until you've cut the onion 16 times. Do not cut down to the bottom. The last 8 slices are a little hairy, just use a steady hand and don't worry if your onion doesn't look like a perfect flower. It'll still taste good.

5. Spread the "petals" of the onion apart. The onion sections tend to stick together, so you'll want to separate them to make coating easier. To help separate the "petals" plunge the onion into boiling water for 1 minute, and then into cold water.

6. Dip the onion in the milk mixture, and then coat it liberally with the dry ingredients. Again separate the "petals" and sprinkle the dry coating between them. Once you're sure the onion is well-coated, dip it back into the wet mixture and into the dry coating again. This double dipping makes sure you have a well-coated onion because some of the coating tends to wash off when you fry. Let the onion rest in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes while you get the oil ready.

7. Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep pot to 350 degrees F. Make sure you use enough oil to completely cover the onion when it fries.

8. Fry the onion right side up in the oil for 10 minutes or until it turns brown.

9. When the onion has browned, remove it from the oil and let it drain on a rack or paper towels.

10. Open the onion wider from the center so that you can put a small dish of the dipping sauce in the center. You may also use plain ketchup.
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