Onion rings, I miss you. Greasy, salty, crunchy rings of happiness. My oldest son and I used to visit a restaurant with bottomless fries (for him) and what we called “The Tower of Power” (for me) : onion rings stacked vertically on a metal rack, in assending order of size.
So a week ago, we tried to make a version of onion rings that would fit in with our new plan of eating. Low-sodium, low-fat, low-carb, and they had to be crunchy. I made them on a wire cookie rack suspended above a jelly roll pan in the oven. They were delicious! But when I spent 12 hours alternately soaking and scrubbing a wire rack they baked on, I began daydreaming about a bright red silicone mat I had seen at my mother-in-law’s home. It was made with hundreds of little pyramid-shaped points. The food sits on the elevated points, which allows for better heat circulation. I figured I could combine this mat with the convection feature on my oven and produce the same effect as the trendy hot air fryers we see advertised everywhere.
Start with 1C high quality buttermilk and a medium onion, sliced. Soak the onions for 15 minutes, and then pour off the excess milk. The recipe I found asked for 1/3C of white flour, but we opted for a scant 1/4C of whole wheat flour. Turns out we didn’t even need that much.
Preheat the oven to 400° on the convection setting, if you have one. If not, don’t go over 400°, as the box of the “Pyramid Pan” mat states that the mat isn’t “safe” above 428°.
Pour off the excess buttermilk, and mix the flour in the bowl with the onions until each onion is lightly coated.
Place the coated onions on the mat in a single layer, and set the timer for 20 minutes.
We enjoyed our crispy, crunchy onions with a burger. Next time we’ll probably add some heat to the flour, in the form of ground chipotle or cayenne pepper. But they cooked beautifully, and tasted delicious!
(Bonus: Clean up took about 10 seconds! Beats the heck out of 12 hours!)
Crispy Buttermilk Onion Rings
- 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- 1 large Vidalia onion
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 400º. Use a convection oven, if available.
- Slice onion into 1" rings and separate them. Soak onion in buttermilk for 15 minutes.
- Combine: flour, cayenne, garlic, paprika. Dredge wet onions through flour mixture. Place on a baking sheet or a raised cooking rack sitting atop of a sheet pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until crispy and just slightly charred.