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Best Ever Beer-Battered Onion Rings

Chef Spencer Bezaire of L & E Oyster Bar in Los Angeles created this wonderful onion ring recipe that is guaranteed to blow minds and break hearts - and it is totally doable at home. A bite yields an immediate crunch, the kind that sends a jolt of pleasure up through your jaw and all the way to your cerebral cortex. But, almost immediately, you notice just how light and tempura-like the coating is. And, whoa, there's a bit of spice there, but it doesn't cover up the hint of another flavor creeping in - is that beer?

Ingredients

2 large yellow onions (about 2 pounds total)
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, divided*
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
2 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups medium body beer**
2 cups sparkling mineral water
1 large egg - preferably cage-free organic
4 to 6 cups healthy cooking oil (such as extra virgin olive oil, hemp oil or peanut oil) or more depending on vessel for frying

**For a gluten-free recipe choose coconut flour or non-gluten all purpose flour.

**You may want to experiment for find a beer you prefer. The original recipe called for Anchor Steam. Others suggest that room temperature regular Budweiser works well. Mainly you don't want a beer that is too light but also do not want a beer so dark and heavy that it overpowers the recipe.

Special Equipment:

Deep fry/candy thermometer, 2 heat-safe cooling racks, 2 rimmed baking sheets

(As always, The Best Years in Life recommends choosing organic content and fresh content as much as possible for the healthiest recipe. Also, wash all fruits and vegetables before cutting or adding to the recipe.)

  

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Set two cooling racks over two rimmed baking sheets.

2. Cut onions crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices and separate into rings. Reserve small inner rings for another use. Add 1 cup flour to a large bowl. Toss rings in flour and let sit 30 minutes.

3. When ready to fry, whisk together remaining 2 cups flour, cornstarch, garlic and onion powder, cayenne, sugar and salt in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together the beer, water, and egg. Gradually whisk the dry mixture to the wet mixture.

4. Heat an inch of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until it registers 350°F on a deep fry/candy thermometer. Working in batches to prevent crowding, dredge the onion rings in the batter and immediately drop into the oil. Cook onion rings, turning once, until golden, about 3 minutes total. Transfer cooked rings to the cooling racks set over the baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt and keep warm in oven while frying remaining batches.

NOTES:

Basically, there's a lot going on in these onion rings. Bezaire broke things down for us, unlocking the ring-shaped genius behind his fried onions:

1. Keep the batter light with egg, water, cornstarch and beer

A number-one issue with onion rings is that they're often held back by an overly greasy, heavy fried shell that contains the onion. Bezaire's solution was to develop what essentially amounts to a delicate tempura batter. The combination of egg, cornstarch, and water, along with the batter's flour and other spices (more on that in a second) keep things light. And the alcohol content of the beer ensures a crisp exterior that fries fast so the onion doesn't get overcooked (because, science).

2. Season your flour

Bezaire was looking to really boost the flavor so his onion rings didn't just taste like frying oil and onion. Countless recipes for onion rings call for cayenne pepper, but the chef opted to add a whole mess of ingredients to boost the overall deliciousness of the onion rings. Garlic and onion powder, cayenne, sugar, and salt ensure that the final product will be flavor-packed and savory, with a subtle hit of spiciness.

Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer or side dish

Original recipe and image source: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Beer-Battered-Onion-Rings-51259730
Photo by Tara Donne, Food and Prop Styling by Diana Yen

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