Cipolle Fritte (Batter Fried Onions)

First off – not to scare any of you away from the recipe – peeling pearl onions is the most fun of tasks. So the question anyone has to ask before undertaking is thus: Are fried onions worth the work?

The answer for me is an absolute yes.

This recipe comes from the Abruzzi Region of Italy, at least according to Reinhardt Hess and Sabine Salzer, authors of one of my favorite Italian cookbooks – Regional Italian Cuisine.

If you’re a little apprehensive about frying in your kitchen, I find that using a wok is a little easier to work with than trying to fry in a skillet. It sounds obvious now, but it seemed like a small victory when I made that equipment adjustment.

  • 2 Eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour, sifted
  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lb Pearl Onions
  • 1/2 cup Italian Parsely, chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • Corn Oil

For the batter: In a large mixing bowl, beat together the yolks of the two egg. Set aside the egg whites for later use.

To the beaten egg yolks, mix in salt, pepper, and flour. Slowly stir in the milk, ensuring the batter is smooth. Fold in the parmesan cheese and garlic. Set the batter aside and allow to set for 30 minutes.

Frying the Onions:

While the batter sets, peel and skin the pearl onions. Meanwhile, bring two quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Once at a boil, blanch the peeled onions for two minutes. Then drop the boiled onions into iced water, Drain well and then pat dry.

Mince the parsley and fold it into the batter. Beat the eggs whites that you had set aside into a stiff peak and also fold into the batter.

In a large frying pan or wok, heat the corn oil to a point where frying is capable. Dip each onion into the batter and then place in the heated oil. Fry until golden crispy on all sides. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain. Salt if so desired. Serve hot as soon as possible.

Serves 4 to 6