I recently posted on Instagram about a delicious trout dish at The Pig Hotel Near Bath. Pretty though it was, I wasn’t surprised that most people couldn’t take their eyes off the golden brown, crispy tobacco onions in the background instead. Particularly those people lucky enough to have been to The Pig and tried them for themselves.
The post comments reminded me just how much I loved them and so I went on the hunt for a recipe. Boy was I excited when Google instantly threw up the actual tobacco onions recipe from The Pig. Happy days! Annoyingly the recipe used cups as a measurement (who does that?!? We’re not American!) so I decided to go rogue and make my own recipe.
Hero Cotswolds’ Ingredients
As you know, LewisLoves is passionate about the local food and amazing produce on offer in the Cotswolds. It made perfect sense then to go for a locally inspired version of the recipe. It’s a simple recipe so you don’t need many ingredients; luckily, I had the perfect cast of Cotswolds produce raring to bring the flavour.
First up, Tubby Tom’s Tubby Dust. If you’ve not discovered Tom before, he’s regularly at the Stroud and Gloucester food markets and cuts a rather distinctive figure; props for the epic moustache Tom! He hand makes a variety of finger licking spices, rubs and sauces to make your taste buds squeal with delight (or quiver with fear should you pick up a hotter version by mistake! Oops!). We’re not hugely into heat but Tubby Dust is a great entry level spice mix; tons of taste, the bare minimum of fire. If you do like dragon breath, just switch it up with Death Dust instead!
Second on the tobacco onions hit list was Cotteswold Dairy milk for soaking the onions. You could use any old milk but Cotteswold Dairy is a great Gloucestershire free range milk that is fair to farmers and super creamy. Think about it this way; you’ll miss them when they’re gone far more than you’ll miss the few extra pence a pint.
Finally, the tobacco onions need something to help them get their sizzle on. You could use any vegetable oil (just not olive oil as the smoking point is too low) but we love using Cotswold Gold rapeseed oil in our cooking. It’s got a lovely flavour and gives food a great colour, plus it’s relatively healthy. Clearly very important when you’re deep fat frying!
If you fancy making the tobacco onions for yourself (or friends if you fancy sharing), here’s my recipe. Feel free to give it your own twist and let me know how you get on in the comments below!
Tobacco Onions Ingredients
100 grams plain flour
4 tbsps Tubby Dust
2 large white onions
1. Slice the onions in half vertically then thinly slice horizontally
2. Place the onions in a bowl and cover them with milk. Slap some clingfilm over the top and let them chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
3. Remove the onions and drain really well. Pat them down with some kitchen paper to mop up any excess.
4. Mix the flour and Tubby Dust together before tipping the onions in. Get your hands dirty and massage the rub in firmly so the onions are coated all over.
5. You need to fry the onions with plenty of heat. You can deep fry them; wait until the oil turns a cube of bread golden in about 5 seconds then batch fry them until they are a lovely caramel colour. Don’t go too dark else they’ll just taste burnt. Alternatively, if you don’t want to deep fry the onions, you can use some oil in a skillet or large saucepan and shallow fry them; just keep turning and let the oil get back up to temperature in between batches.
6. Fish them out with a slotted spoon and let them drain on some kitchen roll so they crisp up. If you need to do lots of small batches, pop them in a bowl on a low heat in the oven to keep them warm. They’re definitely better served hot.
7. BOOM! You’ve just found your new favourite comfort food. Dust the tobacco onions with some more Tubby Dust and enjoy by themselves, stack them atop a juicy burger or find yourself a spicy dip and get dunking. You’ve earned it!
8. If you can keep your mitts off for long enough, share a photo of your epic tobacco onions on social media and let everyone know what twists you’ve put on the recipe.