Beer Battered Onion Rings with Smoked Paprika Aioli
I remember going to a chain restaurant, which shall remain nameless and shamed, that had an appetizer of onion rings for $9.00… NINE DOLLARS! If I can remember right I think it came with a grand total of 8-9 large onion rings. To put this in perspective, for $9.00 I could buy 15 – 20lbs of onions and instead I received the outer layer of just one. Appalling, I know. And even worse was that they weren’t nearly as good as what I’m going to give you here.
Great onion rings are easily achievable for anyone and the secret is the beer. Is it the flavor of the beer? No, it’s the bubbles believe it or not. The carbonation in the beer gives you that airy, crispy outside just like a tempura, which operates on the same idea. Also, once you have your perfect onion rings, don’t dirty them up with ketchup. Try this simple aioli and bring those rings right up to restaurant quality without the ridiculous price.
2 Spanish or Vidalia Onions
1/2 Cup AP Flour
1 Tspn Cornstarch
1/2 Tspn Garlic Powder
1/2 Cup Lager
1/2 Cup (or so) Water
Salt and Pepper
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1-1/2 Tspn Olive Oil
1 Tspn Lemon Juice
1-1/2 Tspn Smoked Paprika
3 Cloves Roasted Garlic
Salt and Pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Parsley for Garnish
Beer has the perfect amount of carbonation for this, but you won’t taste the difference in the quality of beer so don’t bother using anything expensive. If you don’t want to use beer, then seltzer will work as a fine alternative. Seltzer battered onion rings just doesn’t sound that great.
I like to keep some roasted garlic on hand. It keeps in the fridge for a few weeks and it lets me use up a few heads that may have otherwise begun to sprout greens. I see people cutting the tops off, pouring oil on and wrapping in foil, but really you don’t need to do any of that. Just set your oven to 300º put the whole head of garlic on a tray in the oven and roast it for about 45-50 minutes. When the skin begins to brown on top, it’s done. No oil, no mess.
There are two schools of thought for the pan that you will do the frying in. One, use a really wide pan so you can fry more rings at a time or two, use a more narrow pot that will fill with less oil. I went with the narrow pot, which was a bit limiting, but I was only making two onions worth and didn’t feel like using a quart of oil. Get the oil in which ever you are going to use and get it hot while you make the batter.
Since the batter is carbonated you want to be ready to use it right away. It doesn’t go flat in minutes, but you don’t want it sitting around either. Once your oil is hot, mix everything for the batter except the water. Use only as much water as it takes to make a thin batter.
Dip your onions in the batter and drop them individually in the oil. They will sink to the bottom of the pot at first. Use some tongs to knock them off the bottom and make sure they’re not sticking to each other. As they begin to brown, flip them so they cook evenly. Hold in a warm oven until they are all done.