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A blooming onion is a breaded and deep fried onion appetizer that may be found by other names as well, such as onion blossom or onion flower. This dish resembles a flower as the layers of the onion “bloom” while cooking and open up to create a beautiful, tasty dish. This appetizer is frequently served with a blooming onion dipping sauce. The “petals” are pulled away and eaten one by one, and they may be dipped in various types of sauces or condiments before being eaten.
There are a number of restaurants that claim credit for the creation of this appetizer, as well as touting their special brands and types of blooming onion dipping sauce. Several well known brand names offer signature sauces along with their version of this popular appetizer. Sauces may be sweet, mild and creamy, or very zesty or spicy. The flavors are chosen by how well they complement the onion and the breading.
Knock-off recipes of this appetizer as well as blooming onion dipping sauce can often be found at cooking and gourmet food sites. You can also create your own recipes. Many types of sauces are created through experimentation. Try mixing various condiments and other ingredients together in small amounts until you find something you like. A simple mixture of ketchup, mayonnaise, and prepared horseradish is very tasty.
There are a number of sauces available for onion rings and many of these would work as a blooming onion dipping sauce as well. Packaged sauces are available as well as recipes for mixing up tasty offerings. You can try sweet and sour or honey mustard, variations of ranch dip, barbeque sauce, hot sauce, and many more. You may wish to serve several types of blooming onion dipping sauce and see which one is the most popular.
For those who just can’t get enough of that delicious onion flavor, green onion dip may be the perfect blooming onion dipping sauce. There are a number of prepackaged varieties as well as several recipes for homemade options. For a simple formula, simply add chopped green onions and a bit of salt and pepper to some sour cream. Allow this mixture to chill for a couple hours before serving.
If you prefer something cooler to go with this hot onion dish, you might want to try a cucumber dip as a blooming onion dipping sauce. Grate some cucumber, with or without peel, and squeeze out some of the moisture with paper towels. This will keep your sauce from becoming too thin. Mix with sour cream then add a bit of dill and some garlic salt or plain salt and pepper.
It's all going to come down to personal preference, obviously, but I really like a mildly sweet horseradish sauce for blooming onions.
As Pippinwhite noted, if you make the sauce yourself, you control the ingredients, and I think a horseradish sauce is perfect. I use mayonnaise, maybe a little sour cream, a touch of sugar and prepared horseradish. Maybe some salt and pepper.
This is one of those sauces that requires a fair bit of tasting. When it tastes right to you, it's right. Alternatively, have the sauce ingredients on the table and allow guests to mix their own. You could provide mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish and hot sauce and let everyone mix their own personal favorite concoction.
I like to use a kind of remoulade sauce for my blooming onions. That's mayonnaise with a little ketchup, some garlic, paprika and hot sauce. Some people call it "comeback sauce," but it's really remoulade. There are tons of recipes for it online.
I like it because it's not as strongly flavored as some dipping sauces and even though it might be spicy, it doesn't overwhelm the onion flavor. Plus, if you make it yourself, you can control the heat and the spice. Unless the batter is seasoned, a blooming onion doesn't have much seasoning of its own, so you need a dipping sauce that seasons, but doesn't overwhelm. I don't care for barbecue sauce or honey mustard for a blooming onion for that reason.
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