Serves 4 to 6
I love to contrast hot and cold and sweet and sour in all sorts of dishes at Tra Vigne. Fun and clever, this salad will take your guests by surprise. If you prefer a slightly tarter flavor, cut back on the oil in the marinated onions.
2-1/2 cups thinly sliced red onions
1/4 cup champagne vinegar
10 oil-cured olives, pitted and halved
12 very thin lemon slices,
preferably cut on a mandoline, seeded
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 to 6 cups peanut oil for deep-frying
About 1/2 cup buttermilk 2 large red onions, thinly sliced and separated into rounds
About 2 cups Arborio Rice Coating
2 tablespoons finely julienned fresh mint
In a large nonreactive bowl, toss together the 2-1/2 cups onions, vinegar, salt to taste, olives, lemon slices, and olive oil. Set aside.
Heat the peanut oil in a deep fryer or deep pot to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, put the buttermilk in a bowl. Working in small batches, toss the onion rounds in the buttermilk. Put them in a sieve to shake off the excess liquid. Holding the sieve over another bowl, pour the rice coating over the onions. Toss to coat well and shake off the excess.
Drop a single piece in the oil to test the heat. If it rises immediately to the surface, the oil is ready. Fry the onion rounds in small batches until crispy, about 2 minutes. Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Put in a low oven to keep warm.
To serve, using a slotted spoon, remove the marinated onions from the marinade and divide among salad plates. Pile the crispy onions on top. For a pretty presentation, tuck the lemon slices and olives from the marinated onions throughout each portion. Dust each with mint and serve.
The Tra Vigne Cookbook
Seasons in the California Wine Country
By Michael Chiarello
Chronicle Books, November 1999
96 pages with color photographs throughout
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created April 2000
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