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Spanish Sweets Onion Bloom

INGREDIENTS:6 lbs. jumbo (3-inch to 4-inch diameter) Spanish Sweets (onions)
5 cups flour
5 tsp. salt
2 ½ tsp. black pepper
5 tsp. paprika
1 qt. buttermilk
as needed, vegetable oil for frying

Barbecue Dipping Sauce:
3 cups chopped Spanish Sweets
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
6 Tbsp. olive oil
6 cups tomato sauce
½ cup beer
½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp. black pepper DIRECTIONS:Peel onions. Slice off top ½ inch of each onion. Trim root ends, so they stand upright. Stand each onion on its root end, and using a paring knife, cut triangular slices to center of onion, slicing from top down to ½ inch from bottom, and working all the way around to make 1-inch petals. Remove top of onion and reserve for other uses.

Refrigerate onions covered in ice water until layers open up, 3 hours or overnight. Drain well.

Mix together flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Sprinkle onions with seasoned flour, gently spreading layers apart. Dip in buttermilk, once again spreading layers apart. Sprinkle again with flour. Remove any batter that accumulates in cores and deep fry in oil at 350°F until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Drain well.

Serve immediately with barbecue dipping sauce. One onion serves four.

For Barbecue Dipping Sauce:
Saute onions and garlic in oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until softened. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 6 cups. SERVINGS:24 servings From: PHOTO CREDIT:Photo Credit: IDAHO-E. OREGON ONION PROMOTION COMMITTEE