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Sweet Vidalia Onion Rings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose plain flour, (10 oz/315 g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups beer, (16 fl oz/500 ml) at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups fine dried bread crumbs, (10 oz/315 g)
  • Peanut oil for deep-frying
  • 3 extra-large Vidalia onions, cut crosswise into 1 3/4 inch slices (2 cm) thick and separated into rings
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In a deep, heavy saute 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Arrange the hot onion rings on a platter and sprinkle with salt. Place the chili catsup alongside for dipping. Serve immediately.

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