Enticing onion rings turn saints into sinners


POSTED: Wednesday, August 05, 2009

I was trying to list all of the Seven Deadly Sins and could only get as far as lust, envy, pride, gluttony and sloth. So I decided to fill in one of the remaining blanks with onion rings.

If onion rings aren't a deadly sin, they should be—beckoning with their crunchiness and sweet centers; trying to fool you into thinking they harbor nutritional qualities, being vegetable-oriented. You lust for them, envy others who have them. Frying them yourself makes you prideful, then gluttonous, then after you eat them, slothlike.

But what is life without a little sin?

“;I hope you have a recipe for Maui onion rings in beer batter,”; wrote Jennie Arakaki. “;Also any good dipping sauce that goes with it will be great.”;

A good excuse to deep-fry and reap the benefits thus achieved.

But first, a life lesson: Do you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen? Check now, because if you don't look for it until you need it, surely it won't be there. This is experience talking.

In pursuit of this recipe, I set a small pot of oil on a gas burner out on the back porch, so as not to smell up the house. For reasons beyond my understanding of physics, chemistry or whatever governs flammability, the oil caught fire while I was getting the batter ready. We're talking flames 3 feet high. And of course, no fire extinguisher under the sink where I was sure I saw it last.

Operating in a low state of panic and after running through many alternatives in my mind, I decided to try smothering the flames in flour before calling 911, thinking in my confused state that explaining what happened would be embarrassing. The fire went out, but I do not recommend my approach should this happen to you. For one thing, find that fire extinguisher. For another, call 911. Sheesh, who cares if it's embarrassing?

But back to my onion rings. I tried many alternatives—soaking the onions in milk first, dusting them in flour, seasoning the batter, adding baking soda, etc.—only to settle on the simplest approach. The beer gives the batter plenty of flavor and enough bubbles to make it light.

So go ahead. But before you start, locate the fire extinguisher.

Beer Battered Onion Rings

2 large Maui onions
Vegetable oil, for frying
» Batter:
12 ounces dark beer
1 egg
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 to 2 cups flour

Peel onions and slice into 1/2-inch rings.

Whisk together beer, egg and oil. Gradually whisk in flour to make a thick batter—but it should be smooth, not stiff.

Heat oil to 350 to 375 degrees.

Dip onion rings in batter, coating well all over. Shake off excess. Slip immediately into hot oil and deep-fry until golden. Remove with tongs or long chopsticks, tapping tongs against pot to shake excess oil from onion rings. Drain on paper towels. Serves 4.

Dipping sauces

» Mince 1 anchovy fillet with 1 clove garlic and a few leaves of fresh basil. Stir into 1 cup mayonnaise and add a squeeze of lemon.

» Combine 1/4 cup EACH mayonnaise, sour cream and chili sauce or ketchup. If desired, add horseradish sauce and/or chili pepper flakes.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving (without sauce): 750 calories, 53 g total fat, 6 g saturated fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 25 mg sodium, 59 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 9 g protein.


Nutritional analyses by Joannie Dobbs, Ph.D., C.N.S. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).