Onions: a Veggie of Choice in Dishes Worldwide

onion-rings

The mighty onion, infamous as one of the most difficult vegetables to slice due to its sturdy outer shell and slippery texture, is an ideal challenge for that gift set of Kyocera Ceramic knives you’re still breaking in.

The amazing onion provides layers of flavor and color to a wide variety of dishes and cuisines.  Onions are often chopped and used as an ingredient in various hearty warm dishes, but they are also often used as a main ingredient in their own right in, for example, French onion soup or onion chutney.

Onion are used raw in cold salads or pickled in vinegar and eaten as a snack. These dishes are often served on the side in fish and chip shops throughout Australia and the United Kingdom, where onions are also often served with cheese.

In the U.S., onions are the third most consumed fresh vegetable and are available in grocery stores year round.  Ranging in size from less than one-inch to more than 4.5 inches in diameter, bulb onions can be yellow, red or white in color.

How to Select

Dry bulb onions should be firm for their size and have little to no scent.  Avoid bulbs with any cuts, bruises, or blemishes. When purchasing whole peeled onions, select ones with an outside layer that does not show signs of being dehydrated. Fresh-cut onions should be purchased before the expiration date.

How to Cut

With a few simple tips, and a little practice, these techniques for cutting an onion will save time, tears and uneven cooking.

Start with your sharp Kyocera ceramic knife and a large, firm onion for ease of cutting.  Gripping the onion and with fingertips curved, slice in half from the root end straight through to the top end.

Split the onion in two equal halves, leaving the root ends attached.

Peel back the onion skin and discard it. Place onion halves onto the cutting board with flat sides down. Slice off about 1-inch from the top end of the onion, discarding or saving as desired.

Grip an onion half firmly, curving the fingertips away from the knife for safety.  Slice evenly in parallel cuts from one side of the onion across to the other. Thinner cuts will result in smaller dice; thicker cuts for larger dice.

Move your fingers out of the way and grip the onion at the root end.  Make a parallel cut, slightly angled down toward the cutting board.

Make a second parallel slice above the first one and also slightly angled toward the cutting board (and away from your fingers).

Gripping the onion and keeping your fingers curved away from the knife, slice across the onion in parallel cuts.  When the onion becomes unwieldy to grip, turn the remaining portion face down on the board and continue cutting.

Repeat for the second onion half, chopping the onions from the last few cuts to make even dice.  If you’d like, freeze any onion trimmings, including the brown skin (which will add color) to add to your next stock pot.

Cutting an onion produces a series of chemical reactions that unleashes propanethial S-oxide, an irritant that causes the eyes to fill with tears.  If you want to prevent tears, you have to chop in a way that produces less irritant, and prevents the irritant from reaching your eyes.  Position your cutting board next to the stove and turn on the exhaust fan. Irritants will be pulled away from you and your eyes.

How to Prepare

A staple in the kitchen, onions can be prepared in a number of ways and can be found in almost every cuisine. Aside from the many ways onions are used raw, these are the four most common methods found in recipes: sauté, caramelize, grill and roast.

Onion Rings Recipe with Egg Batter, Deep Fried

Ingredients:

  • 3 large Spanish onions or sweet onions
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • cooking oil for deep frying

Preparation:

Wash and peel onions, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Separate rounds into rings. In a bowl, combine flour, seasonings and baking powder. In a measuring cup, whisk together egg and milk. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients, blending well. Dip onion rings into batter, then drip into cooking oil at about 365°. Fry until golden brown, turning to brown both sides. Remove to paper towels or brown paper bag to drain thoroughly. Sprinkle with a little salt before serving.

Fried onion rings recipe serves 6 to 8.



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