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The 1980s were a heady time for appetizer development. Shrimp cocktail was being served in martini glasses, dip was being poured into bread bowls, and at a restaurant in New Orleans, future Outback Steakhouse founder Tim Gannon was having his first encounter with what would become one of the most recognizable apps in America: the Bloomin Onion.
Poised for a comeback, the Bloomin Onion pulls on our nostalgic heartstrings with its crispy, fried exterior and zippy dipping sauce. But an onion isn’t the only ingredient that can bloom. Freed of their bottoms but left mostly intact, enoki mushrooms fan out to look downright bloom-y.
Bloomin Enoki Mushrooms with Spicy Vegan Mayo
- Combine spicy mayo ingredients and set aside.
- Chill all of the fried mushroom ingredients, from cornstarch to club soda, for at least 20 minutes so they are all cold before you mix them together. This keeps gluten from forming, resulting in a lighter, crispier tempura batter.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil over medium until it reads 375 degrees on a digital thermometer. Or, if you don’t have a thermometer, test the temperature by dropping a small pinch of flour into the oil. It should sizzle immediately.
- Whisk cornstarch, flour, and salt together in one bowl. In another bowl, combine egg and vodka, and stir. Pour egg mixture and club soda into the flour mixture, and whisk very briefly to just combine, leaving some clumps of dry ingredients.
- Separate two or three sections of enoki mushrooms, keeping them mostly connected at the bottom. Dip them into the tempura batter, and hold them over the bowl, sliding off the excess batter with your hands.
- Carefully lower the battered mushrooms into the hot oil, and cook for about 4 minutes on one side. Flip and continue frying for another 3-4 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from the oil and place on a paper bag to drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Arrange mushrooms together on the plate to look like a bloom. Garnish with sliced scallions and togarashi. Serve with spicy mayo and lemon wedges.