For the onion rings:
For the chili catsup:
Vidalia onions hail from Vidalia, Georgia, where perfect conditions exist for their cultivation. These large yellow onions, most widely available in late spring, are extremely sweet and juicy. If you can't find them, substitute Maui onions (from Hawaii) or Walla Wallas (from Washington), both prized for their sweetness, or use any other sweet onions. Offer these spicy rings as an appetizer or a side dish.
To Make the Onion Rings:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, beer, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whites into the batter. In another bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir to mix well.
In a deep, heavy sauté pan or saucepan, pour in peanut oil to a depth of 2 inches (5 cm) and heat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) on a deep-frying thermometer, or until a little batter dropped into the oil sizzles immediately upon contact.
Dip the onion rings, a few at a time, into the batter, shaking off any excess. Next, dip the rings into the bread crumbs, coating them evenly and shaking off any excess. Place the breaded onion rings in single layers on a baking sheet, separating the layers with waxed or parchment paper.
To Make the Chili Catsup:
In a small bowl, whisk together the catsup, cayenne pepper and jalapeño pepper. Set aside.
When the oil is ready, working in batches, slip the rings into the hot oil, being careful not to crowd the pan. Fry until golden brown and crisp, 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer to paper towels to drain.
Arrange the hot onion rings on a platter and sprinkle with salt. Place the chili catsup alongside for dipping. Serve immediately.
Spring: Recipes Inspired by Nature's Bounty
by Joanne Weir
50 four-color photographs by Penina
Time-Life Books; March 1997
Reprinted by permission.
This Archived Page created between 1994 and 2001. Modified August 2007
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