Concerning onion rings:
Yesterday Hubby and I decided to head to the bush and cook some hamburgers. We make our own burgers and buns but we needed to buy a couple of the fixins. So we found ourselves inspecting a large bin of white onions looking for a good one. Hubby held up a big boy and declared it the biggest in the bunch. “But,” he added “too big for burgers.” I had to agree but I did say that with an onion that size we could make onion rings, something I’ve wanted to try at home ever since I worked in a fast food joint for a summer.
It really wasn’t hard to convince Hubby to get the onion. He has the bad habit of only going grocery shopping when he’s hungry. He’ll buy anything.
That’s how I found myself looking at the pot of fry oil on the stove thinking tonight is the night.
A few days ago I made fried chicken.
We don’t have a fryer so I just used oil in a pot with a thermometer.
Take note, those of you who think you cannot have certain foods at home because you don’t have one either.
Of course, we can’t just make one fried thing and toss the oil. What a waste that would be! Especially now that the oil has some flavour to it! I don’t think that’s actually the way it works, it’s more like just the way I think. So then Hubby made french fries a couple times and now I was going to use our ultra-flavoured oil to make onion rings. Finally!
When I worked at the aforementioned fast food restaurant we had to make onion rings every day so I was well versed on the making. The only thing I didn’t necessarily know was the recipe. The “how” was easy; we would dip the rings in batter then bread crumbs. We didn’t really make the batter ourselves. It came as a package of powder and we mixed in water. One of my colleagues said that it was basically pancake batter.
So I started with pancake batter. All the recipes I looked at said you add seasoning after the rings have fried but I didn’t really want to do that so I figured I’d try adding flavour to the batter. So I made the pancake batter (just a little thicker than for making pancakes) and added seasoning salt. Enough to give the batter a light orange colour.
As for the bread crumbs, it just so happened that I had a loaf of bread fail yesterday. It came out of the bread machine looking like it didn’t rise. At all. Certainly not edible as it was. I had thought to make croutons with it but that was before the genius of buying a big onion led to needing bread crumbs. I had already cubed the entire loaf so I just put all the cubes in the food processor and whhhiiirrrrrrrr! Voila, bread crumbs! They actually came out a little more course than I had planned but I didn’t particularly have the patience at the time to keep processing. I figured it would do.
Seasoned batter? Check.
Bread crumbs? Check.
Drip racks? Check.
Good to go. Let’s do this!
I was slightly out of practice but I remembered that one hand is “dry” and the other is “wet.” Not that it matters terribly, just saves on cleanup frequency. So the wet hand puts the ring in the batter and flips it repeatedly until it is coated. Then the same hand puts it on the drip rack. It needs some time to drip so the wet hand does a couple more rings. Then the dry hand digs a well in the crumbs and the wet hand drops the first ring into it. Then the dry hand pushes crumbs over top, gently digs it out, flips it, buries it, then digs it out again and puts it on another rack (which is not really necessary, just the way I did it). In my fast food days I would be doing both these things at the same time. One hand is battering while the other is breading. That kind of efficiency wasn’t needed here but it was funny how quickly it came back to me.
Anywhoooooo . . . So once I had how many I thought would fit in the pot I brought them over to the oil which had just reached the desired temperature, 365°. I used my hand to drop them in but I ended up rubbing off some of the breading when I did that. Not to mention it was a little bit scary (oil at that temperature is always a little bit scary). After about a minute and a half I used tongs to flip them over. Not necessary. Don’t bother doing that. And the tongs wiped more breading off.
I took them out using the tongs again (stupid!) once they were (a little too) golden brown and left them on the same drip rack while I finished getting the next batch ready and let the oil get back to temperature.
This time I used my cookie spatula to gently lower the rings in and out of the oil. It worked a lot better and I lost way less of the breading. I still overcooked them but whatever. I knew they would taste good anyway.
They tasted heavenly, in case you were wondering.
I’m sure some people would have liked it with more seasoning but know what’s worse than too little seasoning? Too much.
Guess which one is fixable? Right.
So, err on the side of too little seasoning if you’re not sure how much to use. As it was, between the seasoned batter and the flavoured oil (yes, I’m still saying that) they were delicious, if just a little too crispy. When you bite them the onion actually severs (instead of the entire greasy onion sliding out of its breading, I’m sure you’ve experienced that).
- One Large Onion
- Oil (such as Canola or Vegetable)
- Pancake Batter
- Bread Crumbs
- Put the oil in a saucepan and bring the oil to about 365.
- Slice the onion into thick slices. Separate the rings and set aside those which you cannot fit two fingers through the middle of (you can keep these for other purposes).
- Dip each ring in the pancake batter and set on a rack to drip.
- Once they stop dripping, gently place the rings one at a time in the container of bread crumbs and spread the crumbs over the top. Pat down gently then unearth it, flip it, and cover again.
- Once the rings are coated in crumb place each in the frying oil using a lifting tool (I used a cookie spatula).
- After about a minute gently lift a ring out to check its progress. The rings should be golden brown. There is no need to flip the rings but you can if you have checked and found them not done yet.
- Be careful to not scrape off the breading! Once each ring is done place on a rack to drip again.
- Do wait until it’s cool before eating!
Have you ever made onion rings at home? Care to share the recipe? Have you managed to make anything else that most people think requires the use of a fryer, but without one? I’d love to hear about it (even if it wasn’t quite a success)!