Saturday, June 12, 2010

The perfect onion ring

I'm a sucker for a good onion ring.  French fries are usually my first choice when going with a greasy side,  but a good onion ring?  It's part of food nirvana-land for me. 

Now, there are a few places around town to get good onion rings but making them at home has always been a challenge for me.  I've bought the packets of mix at the grocery store and made up my own recipes and nothing ever really seems to work out. 

That was, until this week.  I had buttermilk in my fridge and some self-rising flour in the pantry.  After reading a couple of recipes and knowing that I had some good onions in the crisper I embarked on an onion ring adventure.

First, I sliced those onions as thinly as I possible could.  Nothing more gross that a fat, slimy onion ring.  Next, I put the onion slices in a bowl of buttermilk and let them soak.  While they were soaking, I made a quick seasoning mix:  self-rising flour, cayenne pepper (I was brave and used a little more than I thought I should), garlic salt, some all purpose "fiesta" seasoning, salt and pepper.

How did I know if I got enough flavor in the flour?  I didn't but my rule of thumb was to make sure that the flour wasn't stark white - that the color had changed a bit because of everything I added.

So, the onion slices went from the buttermilk, to the flour mixture, to a cookie sheet covered in wax paper with a thin layer of flower to keep the onions from sticking.  Once I had most of them ready, I started to fry.

We don't fry much in our family.  In fact, we don't fry anything, but the occasional chicken finger and that's in just a little bit of oil.  Our french fries are always baked and just a few months ago we gave our fry daddy (a seven year old wedding present never opened) to good will.

I never really know how hot oil needs to be, but I just started dropping my rings in and adjusting the temperature as necessary.  One thinly sliced onion makes a lot of rings, by the way.  Once they were golden brown, I took them out of the oil, placed them on a plate with a bunch of paper towels and gave them a final dusting of salt.

Holy crap!  These suckers were good.  They were so good that I fixed them for dinner the next night and ate almost an entire onion by myself.

We ate them on steak sandwiches and hamburgers.  They were also excellent plain.  I'm not sure what to "dip" onion rings in, but they were seasoned well enough, especially the second night, that they were just super tasty all on their own.

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