Live Jazz and crispy onions at the Boisdale, London

“She stood beside the sink dicing an onion. Other vegetables, bright and doomed, waited their turn on the counter. She stopped cutting long enough to lift her arm to her eyes in a tragic pose. Then she resumed, more tearfully.”

Joshua Ferris, The Dinner Party

Not long ago we went out to celebrate our son’s birthday.

He’s keen on music; and he’s keen on food, and so he asked if he could go to the Boisdale in London – one of the few restaurants which offers live jazz.

We had a terrific evening – all of us on good form and the trad jazz not too invasive and my nephew and I both ordered liver.

It was perfect – pink in the middle as it should be (although legislation now prevents it from being served very pink) but the cherry on the top which made it so good was not a cherry (although interesting idea that…) but some crispy, crunchy onion.

It was a great success – the crunchiness against the soft liver – and I thought it could be used as a garnish for all kinds of other things as well as on salads.

I didn’t think it would need any particular skill so I just tried frying – firstly at quite high heat – the onion just went soft – and secondly at violent heat – result = brulée. I tried seasoning with flour – result = mush.

I returned to the drawing board… or rather the trusty internet. And this is what I discovered I had to do:

For enough garnish for about four you need one medium onion, olive oil and a little salt.

crispy onions
after about half an hour
  • Cut the onion into rings – or, much easier – half rings.
  • Heat a little olive oil in a large frying pan – it needs to be large because you need to be able to spread them out.
  • Heat them over a very low heat for about an hour – they need that time to first go soft, then caramelise, then dry out and go crispy.
  • Drain on kitchen paper

They will, rather surprisingly, stay crispy for up to an hour. After that you will have to reheat to spruce up.

finished product
finished product
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