Onions have long been a staple for foodservice operators. They are used in a wide range of ethnic cuisines as well as traditional American fare. From soups and sandwiches to appetizers and salads, onions add color, texture, and flavor to menus.
Cross-contamination can adversely affect foodservice operations. Take the proper stepes to avoid any potential problem by storing and preparing foods separately, maintaining proper personal hygiene, using the proper cutting tools and surfaces, and correctly cleaning and sanitizing equipment and supplies.
Because spring/summer (fresh) and fall/winter (storage) onion varieties differ, preparation also varies. These differences were evaluated and tested by the Art Institute's School of Culinary Arts in Denver, Colorado.
Onions with a higher water content (fresh) take longer to cook. Onions with higher solids (storage) will cook in less time.
Fresh onions took about 40 minutes to caramelize. The cooking time was longer due to higher water content. The water has to cook off before the onions can begin to caramelize.
The caramelized onion flavor was mild and sweet.
Storage onions took about 20 minutes to caramelize. The cooking time was less due to higher percent of solids. The flavor was peppery sweet.
Breaded onion rings are a common item on menus of quick-serve, mid-scale, and steakhouse restaurants. When preparing onion rings or blooms, it is important to follow a standard breading procedure.
After breading, the onions need to sit in the refrigerator/freezer for breading to adhere to the onions.
Fresh onions required a longer resting time after breading due to the higher water content (about 20 minutes in the freezer or refrigerator). Fresh onions required a a slightly longer frying time as well.
The flavor of fried fresh onions was mild and sweet.
Storage onions required less resting time after being breaded. They required a shorter frying time. Fried storage onions will have an apealing peppery flavor.
Dinner dilemma? Mild white fish smothered with sautéed onion and bell pepper is easy, quick, tasty, and inexpensive.