ISO Great Onion Ring Recipe
Okay, so I got a shiny new stainless steel Waring deep fryer for Christmas, and I am now on a quest to duplicate the magnificent onion rings that seem to be available in virtually every road-side diner in New England (but which are scarcer than hen's teeth in California). What I want is a thin, fragile, delicate crust. (Any onion ring whose crust has the capacity to remain intact with the onion removed is an abomination I tell you!) Can anyone point me in the right direction?
Although I use a beer batter when I am making chicken in a tempura style, I like the following recipe for onion rings. It seems too simple. That's because it is.
TEMPURA BATTER FOR VEGGIES
1 cup ice water
1 cup all purpose flour
Beat an egg in a bowl. Add ice water in the bowl. Be sure to use ICE COLD water. Add flour in the bowl and mix lightly. Do not overmix the batter.
Slice onions thin, dip lightly in flour, then batter, then deep fry at 360 degrees. Season with spices afterwards.
I agree with others that dusting in flour is the key to light onion rings, so let me just add this.
My best friend, who is from Portuguese stock, shared her mother's tip for fabulous onioin rings: soak the sliced onions in cold milk for an hour, then drain and dredge in seasoned flour. I don't know what it does technically, but it makes for great onion rings.
re: GG Mora
This is how my mother always made them, Irish and Bohemian Czech, no Portuguese. Soak in milk (never did it an hour, just sliced them and soak while you do the rest), dredge in flour and fry in peanut oil. Oh my lord are these good.
I've never had onion rings in New England so I don't know what you're looking for, but for a very light batter you need to use a beer batter. Basically flour and beer. Sara Moulton described it perfectly when she had that live call-in cooking show (how many years ago now??) on Food Network. I would think they still have the recipe on Foodtv.com.
One note on making dredged onion rings (or dredged anything) - some excess flour will fall off into the oil and make a nice sludge. With vegetables, unlike meat, you can fry several times before you need to filter the oil. But when doing something like these onion rings, you need to filter the top 90% and toss the rest everytime. It's not a big deal, just so you know to expect it.
re: GG Mora
re: Michelle Burns
The "tempura person" that I know says that the secret is to use "really nasty beer that you wouldn't drink on its own." All I can say is that his tempura is delicious. I think that the rest of his recipe comes from a Better Homes and Garden cookbook plus extra garlic and cayenne.
Hey, great gift... I picked one up for my birthday myself!
When I'm looking for thin and fragile, I make onion strings...
Just season some flour with salt, pepper, and cayenne... toss the thinly sliced onions into the mix... and fry!
375 works great. No liquid required for the batter.
And as another deep fryer hint, I found that the one gallon pitchers that WalMart carries for about $3 make great oil recepticles.
A fine mesh stainless steel strainer fits great over the top, letting you have both hands to pour the cooled off oil into your container!
Any liquid added to your batter will add thickness and heft.
re: Plano Rose
I knew I was forgetting something (too hard to "cook infront of the keyboard!).. anyway...
I soak my onions too.. in a bowl of red wine vinegar with a little sprinkle of brown sugar.
THEN they go into the seasoned flour and oil.
The vinegar helps cut the acidity of the onion, leaving you nice strings that even my girlfriend, who hates onions, enjoys!