Blossom Onions Grilled and Planked with Red Pepper Aioli

Planked blossom onion You know those famous bloomin onions that are battered, deep fried, loaded with calories and sodium? Well here’s my version, it’s seasoned with fresh and dried herbs, olive oil and grated romano cheese, then they’re placed on a plank, grilled and served with a red pepper aioli sauce for dipping.

You can serve this as an appetizer or a side at any of your cookouts, it’s way healthier, the flavors taste amazing, and it has a great presentation.

cutting blossom onions First you have to select large sweet onions, I chose vidalia onions for this recipe, nice big ones. Next, you have to figure out how to cut the onions properly, I didn’t know how to do that until I did a little research on Google and found this step by step process, it was very helpful, easy to do ( with a sharp knife) and worked out perfectly.

Once you cut the onions properly the whole thing will blossom out just like a flower with petals, the more wedges cut into the onions the prettier it will look, that’s why you need to use large ones.

Then it’s all about the seasonings you choose and you’re ready to go, use your favorites.  Of course I made my onions Italian style, dusting with the dry first and then garnishing with the fresh. You can do spicy Cajun ,Mexican stlye, whatever sounds good to you, but always finishing the onions off with a generous drizzle of olive oil all over.

Do all your oiling and seasoning prior to placing on the plank to avoid flare ups, but it’s still a good idea to have a spray bottle filled with water near the grill just in case.

planked blossom onion I wanted to try planking my onions and using a hickory board this time, but you can certainly make this without a plank by simply wrapping the onion in heavy duty foil and placing the bundles straight on the grill for around 30 minutes or so, towards the end open up the foil so it gets golden on top.

Sometimes grilling planks can be hard to find especially when you want to try different wood flavors besides cedar, here’s a great online source.

planked blossom onions I cooked mine low and slow until the petals pulled off easily, it took about an hour, but the smell was intoxicating, I don’t have to tell you how good grilled onions smell, you can just imagine!

planked blossom onionsplanked blossom onion A quick red pepper aioli is delicious for dipping as you’re sipping a nice cold drink by your side. Enjoy!

Blossom Onions Grilled and Planked with Red Pepper Aioli
  • Large sweet onions, like Vadalia's
  • 1 large grilling plank, cedar, hickory, maple, etc. soaked for over 2 hours ( I could fit 3 onions on mine but plank sizes vary).
  • Italian seasoning blend, dry
  • grated romano or parmesan cheese
  • granulated garlic
  • paprika
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh herbs for garnish
  • 1 cup of roasted red peppers, either made yourself or a good jarred one that has been drained and patted dry well
  • ¾ cup of good organic mayonnaise
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Prepare your onions by cutting ½ inch off the stem end, then peel all the skin off.
  2. Place onion cut side down, then ½ inch from the ROOT make a downward cut straight to your cutting board.
  3. Repeat to make four evenly spaced cuts around the onion.
  4. Continue slicing evenly between sections until you have 16 evenly spaced cuts.
  5. Turn the onion over and separate the petals.
  6. on foil ( for easy clean up) sprinkle your onions with the Italian seasoning mix, salt and pepper and grated cheese.
  7. Finish by generously drizzling olive oil all over.
  8. Place on plank, if using.
  9. Have grill heated on low and cook until petals pull off easily and our soft and tender. About 1 hour.
  10. Garnish with fresh basil and parsley.
  12. Place all the ingredients into a food processor until well blended.



Plank Grilling with Cheese

planked cheeseI’m a big fan of plank grilling, I love the subtle smoky flavor that the different woods infuse. I’ve planked salmon and other fish many times, also scallops and portobello’s but never tried cheese, until now. Wow, have I been missing out! I have to say this is a spectacular appetizer, just open up a few bottles of wine and let the party begin! This would be perfect to start off your Memorial Day weekend BBQ’s.
outdoor gourmet Whatever flavor board you decide to use just make sure you soak them really good, I went with cedar and maple since I wanted to do a a sweet and savory version. Make sure you anchor the boards under the water, I soaked mine for 3 hours and I never got a flare up thanks to Outdoor Gourmet, they have great products! Brun-uusto cheese I had every intention of using some sort of an Italian cheese for my first try, I already knew that a wheel of Brie would work but I was afraid I might have puddles of cheese dripping down the board. I wanted a cheese that was a little more sturdier so I asked my cheesemonger who gave me quite a few suggestions one being a special romano, but then he insisted I try this Brun-Uusto cheese from Brunkow Cheese in Wisconsin. It’s known as a “bread cheese” because the crust on the cheese is similar to toasted bread. He just went on and on how good it was, and he was right!

If you can’t find this cheese in your area you might want to try a halumi type, but if you live in the Chicagoland area this cheese will be available at Whole Foods, Standard Market, farmers markets and possibly Trader Joe’s, although I can’t confirm that.

It’s meant to be eaten warm and is delicious with sweet or savory toppings.

 I purchased everything so it was easy to put together, I bought a jar of sour cherry preserves for the sweet topping and for the savory I picked up a container of sundried tomatoes that were tossed in olive oil, garlic, oregano and capers. I toasted a loaf of crusty bread and bought assorted crackers and a brioche toast.planked cheese with tomatoes This cheese melts perfectly, it doesn’t ooze out all over it stays contained but yet it’s still creamy and soft with a nutty flavor and the cedar infusion takes it over the top!  Crusty toasty bread, warm creamy cheese plus savory tomatoes makes this a match made in heaven! For the sweet version I used a maple board which added a delicate smoky flavor to the warm cheese.

 The sour cherry topping combined with the nutty warm cheese spread on brioche toast was truly amazing! I think this was my favorite!

I hope I inspired you to plank some cheese.   Happy Grilling!