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!)


14 comments to Tempura Fried Wild Onions with Romesco Sauce

  • Oh in my attempt to woo you down to visit Austin so we can meet……..Anthony Bourdain recently said that he had the BEST brisket of his LIFE at Franklin’s BBQ which is in Austin! I believe he’s trip to Franklin’s is on an upcoming episode of his show this new season. Sooooo, you kinda HAVE to come to Austin now. 🙂

  • Mmmm!! This sounds incredible!! I love all types of onions battered and fried! Plus anthony bourdain is the man so you know this sauce is amazing! What a wonderful idea! Yum!!

  • In the last week I have:

    Made tempura’d veggies for the first time (snap peas, green beans, squash) AND made Romesco sauce for an upcoming blog challenge.

    We are kindred foodie spirits you and I.

  • We have a spiced up Indian version of this which is absolutely divine! I must try yours now because it looks so delicious 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  • I do love onion rings and this tempura method with onions is a wonderful twist. I must certainly try these, with green onions since I am not lucky enough to have wild onions like you. Also, I would have to include the tasty sauce as well! Great post!

    • Eliot

      Thanks for all the comments today. I AM FINALLY HOME AND OUT OF WORK so I can comment now. Sorry, it was a really good day, just kind of went to heck the last twenty minutes of the day.

      Anyway, sorry to whine.

      I really want to tempura everything now. (Jen, I can’t believe we are on the same wave-length. Uncanny!) That batter is so easy and so light and delicious. And, I froze the rest of the sauce for some chicken or pork or fish later on.

      And, Julie, I am checking the DVR now for Tony’s Austin trip!!!

  • You found a very creative and delicious use for those wild onions! BRAVO! BRAVO! 🙂

  • Like tempura fried anything is good…but how much better from something foraged!

  • Had to LOL at that last attempt to reassure your hubby that he’s still #1! haha! Love this idea–utterly brill. Would you believe I really know nothing of Anthony Bourdain except that he’s on the Food Network? I don’t even know what he looks like. I know, for shame!!

    • Eliot

      Oh, you have to google image him. He is a quite handsome gentleman of a certain age! 🙂 Quite plain spoken too.

  • wow Those sound so good with crunchy tempura coating!

  • Those tempura onions have me salivating–they look absolutely amazing and I can only imagine how good they are with the sauce.

  • This looks fantastic, and I loved the Coyote Cafe when I was there a few years ago. I’ve been thinking of trying to make romesco sauce, so this is just the inspiration I need. (I’m not sure I’ve ever tasted it, but it always sounds like something I would love!)

  • […] For the romesco sauce, click here.    Make it while the beans are […]