Sunday, November 14, 2010

Barefoot Onion Rings

Fried food makes me weak in the knees. My willpower hides around the corner when it sees a french fry coming. Don’t even ask me what happens when a plate of calamari hits the table. It's weird that I've never fried anything at home before a few weeks ago.

So what was the catalyst for our foray into the crispy unknown?

I'm so glad you asked.

When we moved in January, Rich and I decided to just get basic cable. My beloved Food Network was the only part of this decision that gave me pause. I could literally watch Tyler, Bobby and Giada cook for hours. Ok, I watch Giada on mute. Her random "authentic" Italian pronunciations make me crazier than when people say "EXpresso".

In case you where wondering, I haven't picked up knitting or mending to fill my time now that food tv isn't readily accessible. I have, however, picked up my unbelievable obsession for food blogs. So it's safe to say that I'm still wasting the same amount of time. But at least now I'm reading, right!?!?

Rich recently came across a few Barefoot Contessa episodes on hulu and we jumped at the chance to sloth and drool for a few hours. Ina Garten is of course the queen of all things fabulous and fantastic. During one of the episodes she made FABULOUS (said in her posh, Hampton-esque way) steak with sides.

Crispy, sweet, salty onion rings were on the list of sides. She soaked them in buttermilk and encrusted them with cornmeal. They looked ridiculously delicious, and it didn't even hit me that these beauties were attainable at home until Rich said, "We are so making those tomorrow." What? We don't have a frier. Fry something? We can’t make THOSE! We don't have the right "stuff"!

Truthfully, all I needed; vegetable oil (check), vidalia onions (check), cornmeal ( check), a deep pot for the oil (check) where all in my kitchen! Wow, we can totally do this!! I felt empowered.

Now? I'm feeling very frightened...

These little babies are only 30 minutes away...




  • 2 large Spanish onions (or 3 yellow onions)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (medium) yellow cornmeal
  • 1 quart vegetable oil (I think we used far less than a quart)


Peel the onions, slice them 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick, and separate them into rings. Combine the buttermilk, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add the onion rings, toss well, and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes. (The onion rings can sit in the buttermilk for a few hours.) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

When you're ready to fry the onion rings, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a large pot or Dutch oven. (A candy thermometer attached to the side of the pot will help you maintain the proper temperature.) Working in batches, lift some onions out of the buttermilk and dredge them in the flour mixture. Drop into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes, until golden brown, turning them once with tongs. Don't crowd them! Place the finished onion rings on the baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with salt, and keep them warm in the oven while you fry the next batch. Continue frying the onion rings and placing them in the warm oven until all the onions are fried. They will remaincrisp in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Source: Food Network, Ina Garten

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