Yup – onion rings; dipped in a thick, rich beer batter – but – good for you?
I got this recipe in my email last week in a sampler of healthier alternatives to classic bad-for-you snacks and treats from the very nice folk at Cooking Light Magazine. I normally steer clear of ‘lightened up’ recipes, because they entail just substituting light or fat-free versions of cheese or sour cream or whatever the offending ingredient(s) may be, and those alternates tend to have a lot of stuff in them I don’t particularly want in me.
This recipe, however, cuts down on the fat by, ermmm, cutting down the fat – what a novel concept! Instead of deep frying your lovingly breaded little rings o’ onion in a vat o’ hot fat; these are browned in a small amount of oil in a sauté pan and finished in a hot oven – which also gives the home cook the chance to finish them all at once and serve them fresh and hot, instead of offering them up in batches.
•2 large onions, peeled
•1-1/2 tbsp canola oil, divided – I ended up using a bit more
•Cooking spray – I like Trader Joe’s Canola Oil Spray
•2/3 cup flour
•1/2 tsp salt
•1/4 tsp paprika
•1/4 tsp Tellicherry black pepper
•1/3 cup flat beer
•1 large egg white, lightly beaten
Cut the onions into thick slices, and pull out the 16 largest rings. You can use the rest for other purposes – or, just make a larger batch of varied sized rings – I really wish I had.
Now for the batter.
Hint. If you don’t happen to have a third of a cup of flat beer hanging around your fridge, the good folk at Cooking Light say you can fix this by pouring fresh beer into a bowl and whisking with a fork.
Combine the flour, salt, paprika, and pepper in a bowl, then stir in the lightly beaten egg white and the flat beer until you have a smooth, thick batter.
Heat 1-1/2 teaspoons of the oil in a large non-stick skillet (I ended up using about twice as much oil called for – but still far less than if I used the deep fryer – tho’ that may have been due to my choice of non-stick pan).
Dip 4 of the onion rings in the batter, shaking off any excess, and cook for 2 minutes per side – you just want to brown them at this point. Remove the onion rings to a large baking pan – I used a foil-lined half sheet pan with a fitted rack – and set aside.
Bread, brown, and add the remaining onion rings to the rack – I made a few extra since I had batter left and there was still some space on my rack.
Heat oven to 400°.
Give the onion rings a light spritzing of the cooking spray and pop into the oven for 10 minutes – they will come out tender and crisp and hot and oh! so tasty!
I had mine with a bit of the leftover sauce from Friday’s meatloaf and really wished I had made a lot more of both.
It could happen!
I made a second batch o’ rings this evening, and trashed the first bit of batter when it came out too thick (like paste – but thicker). Quick, like a bunny, I made a second batch o’ batter and THAT came out all thick and pasty too! *sigh*
A few additional tablespoons of water added to thin the paste – ermmm batter – fixed everything! So – don’t give up – if your batter turns out like brick grout, a little dab o’ water should do ya!