from America's Test Kitchen and its episode "Drive-In Specials"
NOTES FROM ATK:
"We had the best results with kettle-cooked potato chips."
Oven-Fried Onion Rings can be breaded in advance and refrigerated for up to an hour. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking; if baked straight from the fridge, the onions will not soften properly and will remain crunchy.
Makes 24 rings, serving 4 to 6
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Table salt and ground black pepper
30 Saltine crackers
4 cups kettle-cooked potato chips, crumbled into smaller pieces
2 large yellow onions, cut evenly into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Place 1/4 cup flour in shallow baking dish. Set aside.
3. Beat egg and buttermilk together in medium bowl.
4. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup flour, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper into buttermilk mixture. Set aside.
5. Pulse saltines and chips together in food processor until finely ground and place in separate shallow baking dish.
6. (Set up dredging stations: flour; buttermilk mixture; crumb coating.)
7. Cut onions along the diameter and) pull apart the rings in each round, discarding any that are less than 2 inches in diameter.
8. Working one at a time, dredge each onion ring in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into bowl, then drop into crumb coating, turning ring to coat evenly. Transfer to large plate and repeat with remaining onion rings.
9. Pour 3 tablespoons oil onto each of two rimmed baking sheets. Place sheets in oven and heat until just smoking, about 8 minutes.
10. Carefully tilt heated sheets to coat evenly with oil, then arrange onion rings on sheets.
11. Bake, flipping onion rings over and switching (top to bottom) and rotating (front to back) position of baking sheets halfway through baking, until golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes.
12. Transfer onion rings to plates lined with paper towels to drain briefly. Serve immediately.