If you've been a reader for a while, you probably know that I love onions. They're versatile and flavorful, serving as the base for so many great dishes. I attribute my improved knife skills to having chopped so many of them. I look for excuses to use onions whenever I can. Homemade pizza goes on the menu sometimes just because I want to mound caramelized onions on top :)
As much as I adore onions, onion rings are very seldomly made here, mainly because as I mentioned the other day, I think frying is a huge pain. Recently though, I came across this Martha Stewart recipe for baked onion rings over on The Bitten Word and was really intrigued. The guys loved them and the recipe looked simple enough. The rings are dipped into a mixture of egg, buttermilk and flour then dredged in a combination of cornflakes and bread crumbs that have been ground together to make fine crumbs. To ensure a nice crisp coating on the rings, a bit of olive oil is poured onto the sheet pan and heated in the oven for a few minutes before the battered rings are placed on the pan and head into the oven themselves.
When the onion rings emerged from the oven they were golden and wonderfully crisp. I could barely wait a moment before popping one in my mouth and deciding these rings rivaled many of the best fried versions I've had. I've tried a few recipes for baked onion rings in the past and often find the batter falls off once baked, but it adheres nicely on these. I actually made the recipe twice this week I enjoyed them so much and I discovered I had the best luck with the rings that were from the center of the onion and flat on both sides. Those near the end of the onion with sloped sides didn't hold the coating quite as well.
I'm not specifically recommending these as Super Bowl food only because I think it'd be hard to make enough for a big crowd without spending a lot of time in the kitchen. The onion rings really are best shortly after emerging from the oven so I wouldn't suggest making them too far in advance.
Baked Onion Rings
from Everyday Food, June 2009
1 1/2 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
kosher salt and ground pepper
1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 F. Cut the onion into thick rings.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cornflakes and breadcrumbs until fine crumbs form, then transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Whisk the egg, buttermilk, flour and cayenne in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dip the rings in the egg mixture (let any excess drip off) and then dredge in the cornflake mixture. Transfer to a large plate or a sheet of parchment paper.
Pour the olive oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. Pop the pan in the preheated oven and heat for 2 minutes. Remove the sheet from oven and tilt to coat it evenly with the oil. Arrange the onion rings on the pan in a single layer. Bake, flipping the rings halfway through, until onion rings are golden brown, about 16 minutes. Season with salt.