Ferris Wheel Onion Rings

Ferris Wheel Onion Rings

A DIY summer indulgence

There is really no replacement for the legendary onion ring. To me its sacred circle represents the endless cycle of hot, happy summers made complete with an accompaniment of hot dogs and sunshine. That flavor-packed batter, wrapped around a big slice of white onion gives good reason to deviate from calorie-consciousness and indulge at a local diner or the county fair. A reasonably delicious onion ring is not hard to find. I’m not terribly picky when it comes to delicious, deep friend goodness, but making them myself? That is a different story! I’ve toyed with a few recipes over the years, and many of them ended with a coating that was rock hard, or coating that melted right off the onion ring and burned in the oil. But at last! I’ve settled on a recipe hybrid – a happy compromise somewhere between breading and tempura. // by Lauren Yarborough Nikolas

INGREDIENTS:
To start you will need..
– 1 qt vegetable oil (for frying)
– 3 large white onions sliced 1/2 inch thick
And for the batter…
– 1 c flour
– 1 c cornstarch
– 1/2 c corn meal
– 2 t baking soda
– 2 t baking powder
– 2 t sugar
– 1 t salt
– 2 eggs
– 2 c ice water

FIRST OF ALL…
before you do anything else, heat your oil. If you wait until after you start making the batter, you will find that the first batch you fry are falling apart, resulting in floating pieces of batter in oil that slowly burn and fill your house with smoke. Also, note that every time you put something in the oil, the temperature will drop. If your oil is not hot enough the first batch will over cool the oil, and disaster will ensue. Don’t let this happen to you! I like to heat my oil on medium high (level 6 on my stove) for about 15 minutes in a pan with a tall lip to allow for oil that is at least 4 inches deep. Make sure that there is a good amount of space between the top of the oil and the lip of the pan (for your own safety). Also, it’s very important you keep children out of the kitchen during this time, or take precautions. Hot oil can be very dangerous! So keep a sharp eye on it, and don’t forget to turn off  the stove when you are through.
Tip: If you have to add more oil to finish your batches, allow 5-10 minutes for oil to re-heat evenly.

WHILE THE OIL IS HEATING…
mix all dry ingredients. I like to use my KitchenAid for this. Now, throw in all of the wet ingredients! Think “really loose pancake batter” when judging the consistency. It will start to fluff a bit due to the baking powder and baking soda, so you might want to make quick work of the battering and frying process.

AFTER CUTTING MY ONION RINGS…
to about half an inch thick, I sort of unfurl them from one another. I then throw as many in the batter as I can fit while still being completely submerged, and leave them to soak while I fry in batches. This seems to provide for less of a mess in the end. With a butter knife or a chopstick, carefully drop each battered ring in the hot oil (one at a time) so that they both float on the top and have enough room between one another for the batter to expand. PLEASE try not to plop them in, you do not want to get burned! After a minute or two, gently turn each ring over so the other side can get browned, then carefully lay on a flattened paper bag, topped with lots of paper towels, to eliminate any excess oil. Repeat until all batches are finished. Enjoy with a big blob of ketchup and an ice-cold glass of lemonade. It’s so close to fair food you can taste it!