French Fried Onions

Fry, fry! It’s the Hanukkah rallying cry.

Fry? Really? The cooking method we malign all year? 

Unhealthy. Messy. Smelly. The fumes attach to every strand of hair.


Yes, really. The Hanukkah kitchen is all about frying. Always has been. 

It’s also only once a year, so let’s give ourselves a break and indulge.

I like fried anything. But fried onions are among my favorites.

The best fried onions I ever tasted were at Hackney’s in Glenview, Illinois. They don’t cut the onions into rings. They just slice them. Thin. The onions come out looking like a loaf, all the strands packed together into a mountain of dark brown crispiness. You just keep picking at this stuff until it’s gone and what you think is enough for 2-3 people isn’t.

I don’t live anywhere near Hackney’s now so I haven’t been there in years. But if I ever get back to the Chicago area you can bet I will head straight for the place and order me some of those onions.

In the meantime, this recipe is pretty good too:

French Fried Onions

2 large Spanish Onions

2 cups buttermilk

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt or to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

vegetable oil for frying

Peel the onions and cut them into thin slices. Place the slices in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Toss the onions to coat all of them. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, tossing the onions occasionally. Drain the onions in a colander. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne pepper. Using a few pieces at a time, dredge the onions in the flour mixture, shake off the excess and place them in a single layer on a cake rack or cookie sheet. Repeat with all the slices. Heat about 2-inches vegetable oil in a large, deep pan to 360 degrees (a breadcrumb will sizzle immediately; or use a candy thermometer). Working with a few onion slices at a time, fry for about 3 minutes or until they are browned and crispy. Remove with tongs and place them on paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining slices. (Can keep the cooked ones warm in a preheated 200 degree oven.) Supposed to make 4-6 servings.