Tempura Fried Wild Onions with Romesco Sauce

When we visited Santa Fe last December, one of the best meals we had was at the Coyote Cafe.    (For more about our dining adventures in Santa Fe, check out this post.)     One of the sides for my vegetarian meal was tempura fried green onions.    I had wanted to make these as soon as the green onions emerged this spring.

No green onions yet, but we do have a plethora of wild onions in our yard.      I found a basic recipe for tempura on line; however, I knew we needed a dipping sauce.

You know I love Anthony Bourdain and I remember one of his shows in Catalonia (I think) that he feasted on steamed grilled bunch-like onions with Romesco sauce (and lots of Spanish wine, as I recall).

What better way to celebrate Spring, wild onions, and Anthony Bourdain than to come up with a new food combo?

Tempura Fried Wild Onions with Romesco Sauce
Tempura batter from here and Romesco Sauce from here

NOTE:    I did not have ancho peppers or almonds in the house (plus a  few other things) to make a traditional Romesco sauce.   I substituted a dried Guijillo pepper for the ancho and used pepitas for almonds.   This may be a more New Mexican-inspired sauce than a true Catalonian Romesco.  🙂   (And, besides, we are still trying to clean out the pantry!)

  • 1 dried Guajillo pepper
  • 1/2 c.  extra-virgin olive oil (I used some authentic Spanish olive oil that I got in Santa Fe.)
  • 1⁄2  c. whole roasted pepitas
  • 1 slice crustless white bread,  roughly chopped   (I didn’t have any white bread in the house.   I used whole wheat.)
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced  (Oops!   I forgot to get an onion at the store this week.   I ran to the garden and pulled some over-wintered onions.   I hope they are not too strong.)
  • 4 t.  smoked paprika
  • 1 1⁄2 c.  roughly chopped jarred roasted peppers
  • 2 1⁄2 T. red wine vinegar
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper,  to taste

Put pepper and 2 cups boiling water into a bowl; let soften 5 minutes.   Drain pepper and seed and de-vein; roughly chop.

Heat  oil in a 10″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add pepitas and bread; cook until golden, 3–4 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon leaving olive oil.

Toasted bread and pepitas.

Return skillet to medium heat.

Add Guajillo pepper, garlic, and onions; cook until golden, 3–4 minutes.

Pepper, onions, and garlic.

Add paprika; cook for 1 minute.

The paprika adds to the wonderful aroma of this saute.

Put chile mixture, bread/pepita mixture, jarred peppers, and vinegar into a food processor or blender and purée.

Just give me a spoon.

Season romesco sauce with salt and pepper; set aside.

Make tempura:

  • 1 large farm fresh egg
  • 1 c. very cold water
  • 1 c. sifted flour

Beat an egg in a bowl until fluffy.   Add ice water in the bowl and whisk to incorporated.   Add sifted flour in the bowl and mix lightly.   Be careful not to over mix the batter.

  • 2 lbs. wild onions (or green onions)
  • Canola oil for frying

Clean and dry onions.    Dry well.   Heat oil.

Dip onions  in tempura batter.

Dip each onion about half-way.

Fry until golden.

Remove onions to paper towels to drain.

Serve fried onions with romesco sauce for dipping.

This was a great way to celebrate spring, wild onions, foraging, the Clean Out, and of course, Tony!

(Hubs, love ya’ honey!)


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