Baked Onion Rings from ‘Oh Gussie!’

Photo: beall + thomas photography

From Yahoo Food’s Cookbook of the Week: Oh Gussie! by Kimberly Schlapman

Baked Onion Rings with Hot Ranch Dip
Makes 4 servings

I have sung at every kind of fair or festival imaginable. Over the years I developed a weakness for fried festival food from local vendors. These crunchy onion rings are baked with a crumb coating and fulfill my craving for festival food without the greasy guilt. Speaking of guilt, this crazy dip is a guilty pleasure.

Onion Rings

4 Vidalia onions cut into ¼-inch thick rings
5 cups buttermilk
1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
1 cup Ritz cracker crumbs (from 1 sleeve, about 31 crackers)
1 ½ teaspoons seasoned salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon paprika

Hot Ranch Dip

½ cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
6 tablespoons hot sauce
½ cup store-bought buttermilk ranch dressing

Make the onions: Place the onions and buttermilk in a large bowl and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 450 ̊F.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. 

Combine the breadcrumbs, Ritz cracker crumbs, seasoned salt, black pepper, cayenne, and paprika in a medium bowl. Pour half the breadcrumb mixture into a shallow bowl, reserving the rest to add when the breadcrumbs in the bowl get wet and clumpy.

Working in batches, dredge the soaked onions in the breadcrumbs, coating both sides. Place as many onion rings as will fit in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Repeat to make the rest of the onion rings

Make the hot ranch dip: Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, hot sauce, and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the buttermilk ranch dressing. 

Serve the hot ranch dip with the baked onion rings.

Reprinted with permission from Oh Gussie! Cooking and Visiting in Kimberly’s Southern Kitchen by Kimberly Schlapman (William Morrow).

More crispy appetizers:

Indian Vegetable Fritters

Maple-Balsamic Root Vegetable Fries 

Sweet Roasted Chickpeas