Onion Rings

Q. I am the oldest living Aggie and read your column religiously. If you really want to help us, PLEASE tell us how to cook onion rings. My wife and I (82 and 83 years-old) love them but can't make the batter stay on like those you get at the cafes. Any suggestions?

A. I suppose I owe the oldest living Aggie an answer -- in a hurry. Below is my old Tennessee Mama's recipe which she whispered in my ear with her last breath. She also mentioned that even her wonderfully simple recipe won't work IF THE COOKING GREASE IS NOT HOT ENOUGH. If anyone else has a better onion ring recipe, send it to me. Here's the best recipe in TENNESSEE:

One cup of flour
one cup of beer (the brand of your choice since there will be some left to cool the cook during the cooking!)
3-4 cups of shortening for frying purposes
Two - three tablespoons of sugar
two teaspoons of salt or seasoning salt to taste.
Some folks add one-fourth teaspoon of paprika to the batter to insure a golden color.
Combine flour and beer in a large bowl, blending thoroughly. Cover and allow batter to sit at room temperature at least 3 hours (optional). Afterwards gently stir in the sugar and salt.

Cut onions into one-fourth inch or larger (depending upon preference) slices. Separate slices into rings. Heat shortening to 375 degrees F. (You can determine this temperature by dropping a sample ring into the hot grease -- it should begin to immediately sizzle and quickly rise to the top.) Dry onion rings thoroughly and roll in flour before dipping into batter. Fry until delicate golden brown. For crispier onion rings add more beer to the batter; for a thicker crust add more flour to the batter.

Then get ready for some down-home good eating!

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