I’ve never been a fan of onion rings. I like onions, and I’m not opposed to a little grease now and then, but usually when you order onion rings at restaurants you get these big, thick rings that are nothing more than a bit of crunch covering a slimy piece of onion.
But when my husband and I watched Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman, make her version on her Food Network show a couple of weeks ago, I have to admit I was intrigued.
Ree’s onion rings were thin and crispy … they looked like a “real” version of the Durkee onion rings you buy in a can to top your green bean casserole at Thanksgiving.
She made hers to top a ribeye steak salad, but since our son, Patrick, isn’t much of a salad eater yet, Charlie and I decided to make them as a side dish to grilled cheeseburgers.
These things are incredibly addictive. We ate them even as we passed the “I’m so full I could bust” point. They were extremely easy to make and they came out looking exactly like Ree’s did on TV.
We don’t often fry at our house – maybe once a year – but these were worthy of the splurge.
2 large onions
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 scant tablespoon salt
Plenty of black pepper
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 quart canola oil, for frying
Peel onions and slice very thinly, using a mandoline slicer or sharp knife. Separate the onion slices, place in a shallow baking dish and pour buttermilk over the top. Press the onions down so they’re submerged as much as possible and let them soak on the counter for at least 1 hour. If necessary, stir them around a bit halfway through the soaking process.
In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, black pepper and cayenne, and set aside.
Pour canola oil in a pot or Dutch oven. Heat to 375 degrees, or until a pinch of flour sizzles when sprinkled over the pot.
Using tongs, remove a handful of onions from the buttermilk and immediately dunk into the flour mixture. Coat the onions in the flour mixture, and then tap them on the inside of the bowl to shake off the excess.
Plunge the onions in the hot oil. With a spoon, fiddle with them a bit just to break them up. Cook 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown. Drain. Repeat with the remaining onion slices and serve immediately.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.