If you know me well, you know that I can’t turn down an order of onion rings. If there is an option to substitute onion rings for fries on a menu, I’m there. So imagine how pleased I was when I came across this recipe for a baked version of my favorite fried-food guilty pleasure. What made me want to try these was the breading. I was really intrigued by the combination of kettle chips and saltine crackers. The kettle chips give the onion rings that distinct deep-fried taste, and the saltines absorb some of the oil so that you get a nice crispy coating with just the right amount of salt. I was in heaven. In fact, I didn’t even feel the need to dip these rings into ketchup because they tasted so good on their own.
Oven-Fried Onion Rings
(From Pink Parsley; Originally from Cook’s Illustrated, Summer Entertaining 2010)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
salt and black pepper
30 saltine crackers
4 cups kettle-cooked potato chips
2 large yellow onions
6 TBS. vegetable oil
- Adjust your oven racks to the lower-middle and upper-middle positions, and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Get out 3 shallow baking dishes. In the first one, spread 1/4 cup of the flour. In the second, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, remaining 1/4 cup flour, cayenne, paprika, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
- Pulse the chips and the saltines in a food processor until finely ground. Spread the crumbs in the third baking dish.
- Slice the onions into 1/2-inch thick rounds. Separate the rings. Set aside any rings smaller than 2 inches in diameter for another use.
- Pour 3 TBS. of oil onto each of 2 rimmed baking sheets (I lined them with foil first, for easier clean-up later). Place the sheets in the oven and heat until just smoking, about 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prep the onion rings. Working with 1 at a time, dredge in the flour, shaking off excess. Dip the rings in the buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into the dish (I took Josie of Pink Parsley’s advice and used a fork for this step). Drop the rings in the crumb mixture and turn them to coat evenly. Transfer rings to a large platter or baking sheet.
- Carefully remove the baking sheets from the oven and tilt them to coat evenly with oil. Arrange the onions in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake, flipping the onion rings and switching and rotating the position of the baking sheets halfway through baking, until golden-brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Briefly drain the onion rings on paper towels before serving.
My love for onion rings has been exemplified in the fact that I’ve been focusing on them instead of the other things that were on the dinner table that evening. But that doesn’t mean that they were not worthy of mention. Quite the opposite! El Salchichero recently made these English pea sausages that we just had to try. They were delicious. We loved that the peas were left whole throughout the sausage. The addition of mint added a nice, bright flavor.
I also made an Asian-inspired slaw starring mei qing choi instead of the usual cabbage. Normally, we just halve mei qing choy and grill it (as we do with bok choy), but I wanted to do something a little different this time. I chopped it raw, added shavings of purple carrot, as well as slices of radish, chopped green garlic, and a little chopped fresh basil. I dressed it with rice vinegar, a tiny bit of sesame oil, a splash of soy sauce, and salt & pepper to taste.
It was nice having a colorful, flavorful, veggie-packed slaw to eat alongside the onion rings and grilled sausages. Even though the onion rings were baked, the slaw took away any remaining guilt :)