Onion Rings

Well. Guess who was up ridiculously early this morning slicing onions?
That’s because I couldn’t wait to share this great onion ring recipe with you. And it’s even a twofer.
First, a little background. When we first got married, my hubby was homesick for “the best onion rings in the world” that he used to get at a little restaurant in northern California. Despite the fact that I detested onion rings (they were either too chewy, too crunchy, too big and usually undercooked or stringy and mealy nasty things when I’d dared try them in a restaurant), I set out to recreate his Cali fave.
Over the next few years I tried everything. Tempura, beer batter, corn meal (eww), mixes. All with the same disappointing results.
One day, in total frustration, I got online and found the number to that N. CA restaurant.
Being the little spitfire that I am, I explained my dilemma, told them we were thousands of miles away and hubby was so ill he’d probably never make it back to CA to have one of their onion rings again.
To my surprise, they put the owner on the phone. He said “get a pen and write this down”. And he gave me the secret to the best onion rings on the planet.
I made them the next day. And this gal who detested onion rings … loves these onion rings!
Hubby and I never fought, but we’d have had our first fight ever if he hadn’t shared the last onion ring out of the batch with me.
So…get a pen (or cut and paste) because I’m sharing the recipe with you.
Here’s what you need for the rings.

Sweet yellow onions (if you can get your hands on Vidalia onions, even better) sliced and separated into thin rings.
Vegetable oil for frying.
All purpose flour.
That’s it.
Here’s what you do:

Spread the rings out in a shallow pan with a tight fitting lid.
Include the center nubby bits and the too-small-to-be-rings rings too. (I’ll explain later).
Pour enough buttermilk over them to cover them.
Refrigerate for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight). Heat your oil to 350 (I use a mini deep fryer).
Put a good cup or so of AP flour in a plastic (or paper) bag.
Dip a few good sized rings out of the buttermilk, throw them in the flour and shake the bag for a few seconds until they’re coated.

Drop them in the hot oil. Separate them with a fork so they don’t stick together and fry for about 2-3 minutes until they’re golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Kiss them with a sprinkle of salt.
You’re going to want to work in fairly small batches so you don’t overcrowd your fryer.
Do not throw out the buttermilk or those tiny orphaned bits!
Onion ring bliss. I’m telling ya. I’ve been making them this way for over a decade now. I hope you love them as much as I do.
Now…. For the twofer.

Take equal parts of mayo and sour cream (I used 1/2 cup each). Measure out a cup or so of the reserved buttermilk. With a slotted spoon, snatch out all those tiny bits of onion and chop them up finely. Smash and mince a clove of garlic. Add the onion, garlic, a good tablespoon each of chives, parsley, dill weed, and fresh ground black pepper to the mayo-sour cream mixture. Thin it with the buttermilk to the desired consistency. Use less buttermilk if you want a ranch dip, use more of the buttermilk if you want a creamy ranch dressing.

Either way, you’ll like it better than that bottled stuff.
Oh yeah – it’s pretty great for dipping those luscious onion rings in, too.