A certain father of mine mentioned onion rings today, which of course ended with this creation. Until about five years ago, you wouldn't catch me eating onions in any other way. I thought onions were gross and slimy, but would eat the onion straws at Tony Romas when I was a kid. My six month stint living in Santiago, Chile changed that. It's hard to be incredibly picky when your host family or one of your ten international roommates is cooking for you. I learned to like onions chopped up and cooked into a dish for added flavor, and red onions in salad or on a sandwich. Larger pieces of cooked onion are still gross and slimy. It's clearly a textural thing for me.
The recipe below was a spur of the moment decision. Too much oil makes my stomach hurt, so I knew frying was out. I prefer my onion rings crunchy, which is harder to get in the oven. However, by replacing breadcrumbs with panko, crunchiness is a sure thing. I also don't have measurements for you. Much like the way I made the Boursin-stuffed Chicken Breast, I made a conservative estimate as to how much of each ingredient I would need, and simply added more when my bowl got low. I mostly do this because I hate when I end up with half a bowl of something used for coating/dipping because the recipe overestimated. Eat food, don't waste it.
And as a side note, I'm starting to realize that this blog makes me sound really crazy when it comes to food, what is in it and how it is cooked. I'm really not that bad. I learned early how to make do at any restaurant, and generally how to suck it up as to not be rude to a host.
1 sweet onion (the biggest you can find) for every 2 people
Salt & Pepper
1. Salt and pepper about one cup of panko to taste, then pulse it in a food processor so it is semi-fine. If you don't want to whip out your processor, place the panko in a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin. I ended up needing a little more than one cup, but I think it's a good place to start.
2. Take about half a cup of flour and place it in a separate bowl. If you want a bit of a kick in your onion rings, add a few pinches of cayenne pepper or paprika to the flour and mix well.
3. In a third bowl, add one egg and half a cup or so of buttermilk. As with the panko and flour, you can always add a bit more buttermilk if necessary.
4. Cut your onion into slices about 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick. Separate the rings.
5. Heat your oven to 425F and then line up your counter like this, from right to left. Bowl of flour, bowl of buttermilk, bowl of panko, greased/sprayed cookie sheet. Do not use parchment paper or the rings will likely stick.
6. Dredge ring in flour, then buttermilk, then, with a fork, let the excess buttermilk drip off, and place in panko. Use a spoon or the fork to cover the ring with the mixture and get the panko to stick. Place on cookie sheet. Repeat over and over and over again. If you're having a hard time getting the panko to stick, try flour-buttermilk-flour-buttermilk-panko. The extra paste might help. Refresh your bowls if they start to dwindle.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Make sure to rotate pan at the halfway mark.
I hate dishes, but like paper plates.