27 July 2009

Barefoot Contessa Strikes Again: Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings

This recipe could not be simpler - but wow, the bang you get for your buck is intense. First of all, I have decided that any time you can fry something at home, do it. Do not waste your calories on onion rings at some local bar and grill. Waste your calories on onion rings that you pull out of the hot oil, and burn the heck out of your fingers eating them before they are cooled off.

Secondly, I have pretty much decided that anytime I need to bread something before frying it, I will use cornmeal. I. Love. Crunchy. Crispy. Deliciousness. Finally, don't be afraid to fry. As long as you have a thermometer, it is a breeze on your stove top - even on an electric stove.

I noticed the Vidalia onions had come in at my local Sam's Club earlier this summer, and I immediately bought a couple bags. I love the sweetness vidalias have that other onions just can't match. Once I had the onions, I knew for certain that I would be making my first attempt at onion rings. I was nervous and excited since I haven't deep fried much at home. To ensure I wouldn't wimp out, I decided to make it part of a barbeque at my parents' house (I am always hosting get-togethers at their house because it is so much easier to have people over there).

I got everything set up and started the onion ring making process, which was really easy except for the amount of time it took. To make enough onion rings for 6-onion-ring-lovers probably took about an hour. I think if I had used a bigger pot with more frying space, it would have been better. Regardless, it was totally worth the effort - the rings were so crunchy and crisp from the cornmeal. I loved the subtle tang from the buttermilk. These will definitely make the rounds again when I am feeling indulgent and in the mood to stand over a hot pot of grease.

Cornmeal-Fried Onion Rings

2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved

Serves: 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 large Spanish onions (or 3 yellow onions)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (medium) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 quart vegetable oil
Peel the onions, slice them 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick, and separate them into rings. Combine the buttermilk, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add the onion rings, toss well, and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes. (The onion rings can sit in the buttermilk for a few hours.) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
When you're ready to fry the onion rings, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a large pot or Dutch oven. (A candy thermometer attached to the side of the pot will help you maintain the proper temperature.) Working in batches, lift some onions out of the buttermilk and dredge them in the flour mixture. Drop into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes, until golden brown, turning them once with tongs. Don't crowd them! Place the finished onion rings on the baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with salt, and keep them warm in the oven while you fry the next batch. Continue frying the onion rings and placing them in the warm oven until all the onions are fried. They will remain crisp in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I just asked John if he hated you as much as me for doing this without us and he agreed that yes, he does.