Oven-Fried Onion Rings
Ok, seriously. These onion rings are the real thing. I loved them so much that I made them twice in one day. Yeah. With Lily getting over a case of pink eye and a surviving a never-ending cold, this comfort food is perfect. Not that she ate any onions, but they comforted me, and that's what really matters, right? Don't worry, I gave her extra raspberries and snuggles.
The oven-fried onion rings are breaded with kettle-cooked potato chips that give them a good crunch with a bit of greace that makes you think they were fried, but there are also saltines that are salty and crispy and good, and the rings are made with the ease of being baked in the oven. Jake won't let me buy a deep fryer, and I have a feeling it's for my own good.
I'm posting these onion rings for Elly Says Opa's Eat to the Beat. (I know. I've done too many recipe swaps/clubs lately, just have so much fun with them that I can't stop.) Elly originally did her Eat to the Beat series way back when I was cooking without documenting and couldn't participate. Essentially, what happens is you pick a song or singer and somehow connect it to a food. Brace yourself: mine is a bit of a stretch. But it makes sense in my twisted brain.
One of my favorite songs is Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band. Who doesn't love that song? It makes me wish I was from Georgia. So, the obvious connection would be to make fried chicken (or cold beer. or jeans that fit just right. what?). But I'm not a chicken fan, and I really don't like messing with it raw. We eat a lot of Morningstar fake chicken in this house. So I made fried onions instead! Get it?! I've been wanting to make oven-fried onion rings for a long time so I turned into the kid that shoves a puzzle piece into a spot that just isn't quite right. Try to forgive me. And make these onion rings as soon as posisble.
Oven-Fried Onion Rings
½ cup all-purpose flour, divided 1 large egg, at room temperature ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper ½ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. pepper 30 saltine crackers 4 cups kettle-cooked potato chips 2 large yellow onions, sliced into ½-inch thick rings 6 tbsp. vegetable oil
Directions: Adjust oven racks to lower- and upper-middle positions. Preheat the oven to 450˚ F. Place ¼ cup of the flour in a shallow baking dish. Beat the egg and buttermilk together in a bowl. Whisk the remaining flour, cayenne, salt and pepper into the buttermilk mixture. Combine the saltines and potato chips together in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Place half of the crumb mixture in a second shallow baking dish; reserve the other half.
Working one at a time, dredge each onion ring in flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the onion rings in the buttermilk mixture, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl, and then dredging in the crumb coating, turning to coat evenly. When the crumb mixture is low, add the reserved crumb mixture to the dish for dredging the remaining onion rings. Transfer the coated rings to a large plate or platter.
Pour 3 tablespoons of the oil onto each of 2 rimmed baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the oven and heat just until smoking, about 8 minutes. Tilt the heated sheets to coat evenly with the oil.
Lay the onion rings out in a single layer on the oiled baking sheets. Bake, flipping the onion rings and rotating the pans halfway through baking, until golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined rack briefly before serving.
Source: Cook's Illustrated, as seen on Annie's Eats