If you love onion rings as much as I do, but find they are too time consuming to make yourself, and a huge disappointment when ordering them in a restaurant, here’s something I stumbled upon by accident that made my onion ring taste buds sing.
Let me introduce the ingredients – there are only three.
First, take advantage of the summer sweet onions. These are Vidalias, but the Texas Sweets will be along soon, and there are a lot of other varieties of sweet onions.
Next up, some of those frozen, munched up potato thingies in a bag by Ore-Ida. We had “crowns”, but Tater Tots would work just as well, I would think.
(Alas, by the time I decided I wanted to make a blog post out of this process, there was only one crown left!)
And then . . . and then . . . the ingredient that makes this all work – Very thick, well-aged balsamic vinegar.
Thanks to my good friend, Karen, for keeping me supplied with this delightful treat! ;->
Get those potatoes as crispy as possible. I heated them in the Oven Central, which did an excellent job. While they are becoming their crunchy best, gently sauté as many onions as will fit in your best pan. If you have a cast iron skillet, now is the time to get it out. S – L – O – W – Y sauté those onions in real butter, stirring often and watching carefully, until they are just golden. Don’t let them get dark brown.
I’ve found that slicing onions down instead of across produces a milder taste. Just cut it in half (through the stem part), put the flat part down on the board, and then slice from the ends in. You’ll have slender, curved slivers instead of rings, but that makes no difference.
Now for the best part . . . get out the balsamic vinegar, take out the cork, and sniff how wonderful it smells. ;->
Put the cooked onions into a bowl and sprinkle on the vinegar to taste. I like a lot, but too much overpowers the delicate taste of the onions.
Now – wait a minute – those aren’t onion rings! But they will be in just a moment. Pick up a spoonful of the onions off your plate, pop them and a potato into your mouth, and your brain will never know that these items were inserted separately! It’s just as though that crunchy potato was the crispy coating on an onion ring right out of the deep fryer.
I found this treat delightful and much, much better than any commercial onion ring from a package or from a restaurant, and that includes the deep-fried onion “flower” from a popular steakhouse.
GASP! I had NO idea about the nutritional value (or lack thereof) for these until I went to their page to check on the correct spelling. Having read these figures, I have removed all direct references to the origin of the item.
I’ve had access to this item only once. There were three of us at the table, and the onion was not nearly consumed. I brought it home, but it was over ten years ago, and I don’t remember if it reheated well or not. All I really remember is that it seemed very greasy to me, and way too salty, almost to the point of being inedible.
I don’t know what the calorie count of my version would be, but they are so satisfying, that it takes only a few mouthfuls to completely satisfy.
On occasion, I have cut up and popped several of these seasonal sweet onions into the Crock-Pot with some butter and just let them cook for a few hours on their own. The resulting mélange keeps for quite a while in a Lock & Lock container or glass jar in the refrigerator for use in a lot of dishes, such as practically instant French onion soup, as well as simply piled onto steaks, chops, or burgers, or any hot sandwich. Sauté up a pile of whatever veggies that are around, add a bit of meat, some of the onions, and serve over rice or pasta. This will stretch a small amount of meat, and you will feel completely satisfied.
I’ve never frozen them because they are consumed quickly enough not to become burdensome. If I were to freeze them, I would put them in serving-sized portions in individual sandwich bags, and then into a larger freezer bag for storage. This method works really well for any seasonal item that you want to enjoy all through the year.
A little extra planning and effort now gives an amazing result later when you can trot out something really unique, like roasted red peppers, to tantalize those taste buds.