Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo are two decidedly cool L.A. chefs, so we were delighted to learn that the inspiration behind this dish is none other than the Bloomin' Onion at Outback Steakhouse.
Their version is a little more luxe: Bright stalks of spring onions are breaded in a cornmeal crust before being fried until golden and crisp. Their Italian-leaning restaurant, Jon & Vinny's, serves the "adult onion rings" with a spicy Calabrian chile aioli for the ultimate dinner party appetizer.
These long stalks have white bulbs at the end, which vary from subtle to large. Any bulb wider than an inch should be cut in half to ensure the onion gets fully cooked. If spring onions aren't in season, feel free to substitute large scallions.
To learn more, read "Cacio of the Day."
Fried Spring Onions with Calabrian Chile Aioli
Recipe adapted from Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Jon & Vinny's, Los Angeles, CA
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
For the Calabrian Chile Aioli:
¼ cup Calabrian chile paste
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ tablespoon salt
1 egg, plus 1 yolk
1¾ cups grapeseed oil
For the Cornmeal Fried Spring Onions:
Peanut oil, or canola oil, for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup buttermilk
1½ pounds (12 medium) spring onions
1. Make the aioli: In a blender, combine the chile paste, lemon juice, Dijon, salt, egg and egg yolk. Purée until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the grapeseed oil until a thick sauce comes together. Scrape into a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. Make the fried spring onions: Pour enough oil into a 6-quart Dutch oven to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil until a deep-fry thermometer reads 375°. Line 1 baking sheet with parchment and 1 baking sheet with paper towels, and set both aside.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, garlic and onion powders. Pour the buttermilk into a shallow dish. On a cutting board, cut the spring onions into 4-inch pieces, halving the pieces with the bulbs.
4. Dip the spring onions into the buttermilk, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture, coating completely, and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Working in batches, fry the spring onions until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain, and season immediately with salt.
5. Arrange the spring onions on a platter and serve hot with the aioli on the side.