Sunday, February 12, 2012

This Must Be True--

I read it on the Internet.

“This year, Liuzza's climbed up to the position of Chuck's (Ed. Note: A different Chuck.) Very Favorite Neighborhood Restaurant in New Orleans. This venerable Mid-City neighborhood institution (since 1947) is home to the "Frenchuletta" (a muffuletta on French) and scads of wonderful Creole-Italian cuisine.... Start your visit by ordering two appetizers: the fried onion rings (heavenly) and, believe it or not, the battered, deep-fried dill pickle slices. You won't believe how good they are, even if you don't like pickles. One astonished visitor was overheard commenting, 'You people will batter and deep-fry anything that isn't nailed down!'" (

And why shouldn’t they? The cooks of Southern Louisiana have elevated deep fat frying to an art form. Open the menu at any restaurant serving “Real Cajun Cooking” and you will find, in addition to the fried dill pickles, many of the following: fried shrimp, fried catfish, fried crawfish, fried oysters, fried alligator, fried crawfish boulettes, fried boudin balls, fried crab fingers, fried soft shell crabs, fried frogs legs, fried hush puppies, fried eggplant, fried okra, and fried mushrooms. Many will offer chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken, and plain ol’ fried chicken. And let us not forget French fries—either white or sweet potato. But the frying of one particular food item has been elevated to a position of culinary genius—I refer to the onion ring.

Some of our favorite onion rings, presented in no particular order:

Frankie and Johnny's, New Orleans, LA

Cajun Way, Crowley, LA

Sunny's, Church Point, LA

2 Paul's Radical Urban BBQ, Lafayette, LA

Chef Roy's, Rayne, LA

So, as a tribute and with the permission of the author (that would be my Chuck), we reprint his stirring 2008 classic:


Behold! The onion transformed:
from multi-layered orb
with a menacing bite
and tears of pain--
through many a cut,
a bath in beer batter,
a sprinkle of heat,
a dusting of flour,
and a hot oil bath--
into multi rings of crunch
with a spirited bite,
bringing tears of joy.

--Chuck Schrader ©

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