I love a good onion ring. And I’m quite finicky about how I like them. I don’t want them too crispy, but certainly not soggy or limp. The outside needs to be salty with a good crunch, but the onion inside should be cooked all the way through, but still have a slight bite to it. Furthermore, the breading must have some flavor, not just any old gooey batter or breading. And last, I need a good dip with my onion rings. I do not accept ketchup or marinara. I like a spicy mayo to dip these golden rings into.
That being said, I have had a hard time choosing an onion ring recipe to fulfill my 30 Before 30 item. Last week, there was a new member on my What’s Cooking board, Courtney, so I headed over to her blog, Cook Like a Champion, to see what kind of cool stuff she had. So many things looked amazing, but her Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings caught my eye right away. The cayenne and thyme in the breading paired with the cornmeal sounded like a great fit for my onion ring ramifications!
Turns out, they were awesome! Not too heavy, the breading stuck to the onions, and just one large yellow onion was more than enough rings for 4 people. Sadly, I had to keep them in the oven longer than 30 minutes (while we were waiting for Nate’s ribs to be done – post soon to come), so when I finally served them, they were cracker crumbly. When I test made them earlier in the day, Nate basically tried to eat the entire plate in one handful after his first bit. Even when I did get to serving them before dinner, they were gone like hot cakes. I’ll have to make it up to my future parent’s-in-law for round two of onion rings. Can that ever be a bad thing? I served them with my chipotle mayo, which was the perfect dip for these rings. A wonderful first taste of Cook Like a Champion. Thanks Courtney!
Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings with Chipotle Mayonnaise
Source: Adapted from Cook Like a Champion
1 large yellow or spanish onion
2 cups buttermilk
kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1-2 tsp hot sauce
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
4-6 cups vegetable oil or peanut oil
1. Slice of the top and root end of the onion and carefully peel off the brown skin. Slice into 1/2 – 3/4 inch slices, and separate into rings.
2. In a large bowl, combine buttermilk, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and hot sauce. Add onions to buttermilk and toss well to coat all onions. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, up to several hours.
3. In a shallow dish, combine flour, cornmeal, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, cayenne and thyme. Whisk together so all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
4. Heat oil in large dutch oven or large pot to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, prepare baking sheet with foil. One at a time, remove onions from the buttermilk, and dredge in flour/cornmeal mixture. Completely coat outside and inside of ring and tap off any excess. Place ring on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining onions.
5. Prepare another baking sheet with paper towels and place next to oil. Once oil is heated to 350, drop in a few onion rings at a time, making sure not to crowd the pot. Fry until rings are golden brown, flipping over every so often. They should take about 3-4 minutes. Remove from oil and place on paper towel lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt immediately. If you are not serving these right away, place in oven at 200 degrees. They should remain crisp for about 30 minutes. I don’t suggest any longer because mine were cracker crisp and crumbly…just a little too crispy. Serve with chipotle mayonnaise, or other desired dipping sauce.