Everyday Food (June 2009)
We very seldom fry anything.
It's not that we're anti-frying, really, but let's face it, it's often messy, it stinks up our kitchen a bit, and though we hate to even think about it, it's not very good for us.
And even though we don't fry very often, we're a little leery of anything that's "fried" in an oven. It's like the time we made Crispy Baked "Fried" Chicken -- it was a very good dish, but just not the same as actual fried chicken.
So we approached these Baked Oven Rings with some trepidation. What we found, though, surprised us.
Hats off to Everyday Food! They've cracked the code on a healthier version of onion rings that tastes every bit as good as the deep-fried rings we remember from childhood.
The batter and the coating are simple and standard, but really delicious. For the batter, just mix egg, buttermilk, flour and cayenne. After dipping each onion slice in the batter, dredge it through the coating, a simple combination of cornflakes and breadcrumbs.
The real innovation here is the suggestion to oil your sheet pans and place them in a hot oven to allow the oil to heat. When the battered onion rings are dropped onto the hot pan, they sizzle wonderfully. The hot oil firmly secures the batter and creates a nice crispy coating on the rings. (It also sort of made us wonder if these rings might technically be a little bit fried? Not that that's a bad thing.)
When we pulled the rings out of the oven, we smiled. They were gorgeous -- perfect little golden halos, light and crisp on the outside with hot, sweet onions hiding inside.
We'd invited our friend Sue over the night we made these, which we served alongside some grilled burgers and a simple vinaigrette salad. We all loved the rings and thought they definitely would stack up to traditional fried onion rings.
Give them a try and see if you think they pass the test!
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
* 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
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, quartered crosswise and broken into rings (discard small center rings)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, pulse cornflakes and breadcrumbs until fine crumbs form, then transfer to a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, flour, and cayenne and season with salt and pepper.
2. Dip onion rings in egg mixture (letting excess drip off) and dredge in cornflake mixture; place on a large plate. Pour oil onto a rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven and heat 2 minutes. Remove sheet from oven and tilt to coat evenly with oil. Arrange onion rings on sheet. Bake, turning once, until onion rings are golden brown, about 16 minutes. Season with salt.