When we hosted a 4th of July party a few years ago, I wanted to make real ‘American’ food for our friends and decided to make my favorite bar snack – onion rings! I do not eat fried food that often and almost NEVER fry anything at home. However, since moving to Paris, there have been a few occasions when I have suddenly craved onion rings. Some restaurants offer them, but the batter is often very thick. I like mine with a light batter and really crispy.
This recipe has worked perfectly for me every time. It’s easy, but messy! Get ready for batter covered hands and make sure your windows are open! The tempura batter on this is not overly thick and you can make them ahead and reheat them in the oven before serving (they go limp when cool, but crisp up again).
Total Time: 40 minutes
1-quart (1-liter) vegetable oil for frying
2-3 large yellow onions, cut crosswise in ½ inch rings
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 ½ cups (900 ml) unflavored club soda or sparkling water, such as Perrier
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups (360 g) flour
¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch (Maizena in France)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
In a large bowl, whisk together the baking powder, flour, cornstarch, cayenne pepper and salt. Pour in the club soda slowly, whisking, until the batter is smooth. It should be the consistency of pancake/crêpe batter. Add a little more club soda if it is too thick. Let stand 10 minutes.
Place a large baking sheet covered with paper towel next to your stovetop. In a large, deep saucepan, heat the vegetable oil on high heat. If you have a thermometer, it should reach 380° F (190° C). If you do not have a thermometer, it should take 10 minutes to get hot enough. Reduce the heat to medium-high.
Dip the rings of onion in the batter, shaking gently to let excess batter drip back into the bowl, then place in the hot oil. Fry about 8 rings at a time depending on the size of your pan – they should not be on top of each other in the oil. With a slotted spoon, turn them over occasionally and let them fry for about 3 minutes until they are golden. Take them out and transfer to the paper towels. Continue until the onion slices are all fried (you may have batter leftover if you feel like frying anything else!).
Sprinkle with a little more salt and serve while hot. If you do not serve them right away, put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (they will go limp, but get crispy again when reheated). Reheat them in the oven at 400° F (200 C°) for 5 minutes before serving.
I like to serve mine with a Sriracha Mayonnaise. Simply mix ½ cup (140 g) mayonnaise with ¼ cup (70 g) Sriracha sauce. Tasty and has a kick!
And bon appétit!