Whenever I am cooking anything, I can always count on Geoff to ask one of the two following questions “You’re cooking that in bacon fat, right?” or “Where is the pie?” That pretty much sums up the boys’ cooking philosophy. But then again, who doesn’t love pork fat and butter fat? I sure do. I may even enjoy cilantro if it was fried in bacon fat and slathered with a butter sauce. But alas, I also enjoy (or tolerate on most days) my current waist size.
This is why weeknight dinners in our house are usually made by me and I do make a solid effort to prepare meals that are low fat and somewhat healthy. I have to counteract what we do to our poor bodies on the weekends. Her idea of coating the onions in crushed baked potato chips and then baking them is a really successful lower fat version of the fried onion rings that we all know and love.
Here is my version, which I have tweaked after making them many times.
Oven Baked Onion Rings
2 Sweet Vidalia Onions (any sweet onion will do)
1 Bag Baked Potato Chips (about 3 Cups)
½ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
½ Tsp Garlic Powder
½ Tsp Onion Powder
½ Tsp Dried Thyme
½ Cup plus 2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Low Fat Buttermilk
Salt & Pepper
Preheat the oven to 450F
Cut the onions in ½ inch thick rounds. Be sure to make them thick because it will affect the taste and texture of your final product. If you overcook these or cut them too thin they are still good, but you lose that great texture contrast and the sweetness of the onion.
In a food processor, crush up the baked potato chips until they are finely ground. Place the ground up chips in a shallow bowl for dredging.
Season the chips with the cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, & dried thyme. Mix well.
Separate the onion slices into rings and discard some of the smaller inner rings as well as any that break. Place the remaining rings into a large resealable plastic bag with ½ cup of flour. Close the bag and give it a good shake so all the onions are coated with flour.
Measure out the buttermilk and whisk in the remaining 2 Tbsp of flour and salt and pepper to taste.
Dip the floured rings into the buttermilk mixture, then coat it with the potato chip mixture, then place it on a baking sheet.
You can spray the rings with some canola oil at this point. However, I just place them on a Silpat and bake them dry. (I am addicted to Silpats and use them for everything.) I can usually fit about 18 rings on one cookie sheet. If I have room in the oven I will make more and use 2 cookie sheets.
Turn the oven down to 425F and bake in the center of the oven if possible for 18-20 minutes until they are golden brown. What you should have is a nicely browned crunchy outside with a sweet soft onion on the inside.
As you saw in this picture, we did not eat only onion rings for dinner. I made some Buttermilk Oven Fried Chicken from Cooking Light. The recipe can be found here. All I can say about this dish is, it was chicken. Nothing special.
I also made some Spaghetti Squash which I had never made before and it turned out great.