Monday, October 07, 2013

Quest of the RING! - Onion Ring trials

So after a year of temporary housing while we hunted endlessly for a home, we're finally there!  That means bye bye temporary cramped century old plumbing, 70's dumpy kitchen with no counter space.  What's one of the first things D and I bought for our new place :D.... a deep fryer.  Fo real.  Seriously.  We actually bought it before we took possession.  Pan or dutch oven frying my homemade fries or Arancini has not been fun.  There was something nuclear about that old white stove.  We did get used to it tough.

This past summer, we went on a roadtrip.  I hope to post those lovely restaurants in upstate New York and Maine.  Anyhoo, we hit one AWESOME random shack we saw on TV called the Porthole in Portland ME.  They had, unequivocally, the best Onion Rings of my and D's life.  The Onions had a good bite so they didn't slither out of the ring, leaving an empty shell.  The batter was full of flavour, seasoned well and held on to the Onion without being too doughy or heavy.  It crispy and airy without being greasy or using breadcrumbs.  After visiting twice, we asked the server the recipe.  She didn't not give us proportions nor instructions so I'm now on a quest. 

Ring Quest 1 

1 1/4 c Flour
1 c Cornstarch
1 1/2 t Salt
1/2 t Paprika
1 t granulated Garlic
1/2 t Black Pepper
1/4 c Vodka
1 bottle Beer, medium body
1/4 c Cornmeal (my add)

1 large Onion (Softball sized)
OR 2 medium Onions (Tennis Ball sized)

Preheat your oil to 350.

Place a wire rack with some paper towels on one half with a pan underneath.

In a large bowl, whisk the Flour, Cornstarch, Salt, Paprika and Pepper.  Place in Fridge while you prep your Onions.  I also put my Beer in the freezer now too.  I'm mirroring some tempura technique here. 

Peel and slice the onions into 3/4inch slices and separate into rings and pat dry with a paper towel.

Take out the batter stuff.  Whisk in the Vodka.  Add half the Beer.  Add the rest in quarters until you reach a point where the Batter is about the consistency of Pancake batter and will cling to the Onion.  I used the full bottle.

Dunk the Onions with one hand until coated but shake off excess.  Place in the Oil slowly.  Carefully hang on to the ring for about 2 s before letting go.  I made the mistake for the few couple of just dropping and they stuck to the bottom of the basket.  Turn over with a pair of steel tongs with the non dunking hand.  Always use the same hand so you're not trapped.  2-3 minutes until honey brown.

Place on the paper towel on both sides briefly but move over the the non paper towel side to cool and not get soggy sitting on the towel.  Salt more if needed. 

Do not over crowd the fryer or they'll stick together.

I also fried up some French Haricots too! mmmm


1. Not enough SALT.  Thought with a nice sprinkling of Salt when they were done and still hot.
2. Flavour of Beer was awesome.
3. Vodka helps avoid making too much chew Gluten.
4. Light and Airy and held together while eating
5. Onions not slimey. 

Next time, I'll up the Salt, cut back the Beer and Flour.  Quest goes on.  One Onion-ring to rule them all will come from my kitchen!!

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