When I was growing up on Long Island...the three big fast food burger places where McDonald's, Burger King and White Castle. You couldn't pay me enough money to eat McDonald's or White Castle, but I was obsessed with Burger King! My parents never took me there to eat, but I went there for lunch almost every day of my junior and senior years of high school. Burger King was just close enough that we would have time to drive there, eat, and get back to school during our one hour lunch period. I would get the same exact lunch every single time I ate there....the fried chicken sandwich with extra mayo, a chocolate shake and, of course....onion rings!
If you have ever tried Burger King onion rings, you know that they taste as close to real onions as a potato chip tastes like a potato. I didn't care. I thought they were the most wonderful thing I ever ate. Who wants soggy, boring fries, when you could have a crispy, salty, heavily breaded, perfectly uniform sized onion ring? They didn't even need dipping sauce!
Sadly, when I moved to Atlanta in 1986, I didn't have a car, and my beloved BK onion rings were gradually replaced by the Emory University cafeteria onion rings. They were weird! There were actual onions in the center of the breading!!!! It took some getting used to, but I liked them. I began to order onion rings wherever I went, and discovered that I love all onion rings. I would put them on my burgers, put them on a salad, serve them aside a roasted chicken...there is nothing that isn't made better with onion rings!
When I was 23 and pregnant with Jamie, my doctor discovered that I put on 10 pounds between my 5th and 6th month. He was not pleased, reminded me that I was NOT "eating for two", and send me to a nutritionist (overreact much?!?!?) . The nutritionist was kind of mean. She made me turn in a food diary, and then proceeded to tell me that my baby was getting no nutrition. She asked me in a very condescending tone if I really thought that a foot long sub, extra large Doritos, chocolate shake and Snickers bar was an appropriate lunch? I didn't mention the onion rings. Blah, blah, blah...I had to start eating healthy, and eliminate fried foods. I thought I would be home-free when Jamie was born, but then the "breast-feeding lady", from the hospital, that Phil brought home from work one, day to teach me how to breast feed, put me on a diet too! No fried foods!!!!!
Fast forward sixteen years and I still love onion rings, and still try to avoid fried foods...hence, my quest for a tasty, crispy baked onion ring. After experimenting with many different breadings, I have found that this combination of cornflake crumbs and regular bread crumbs make a flavorful, crispy onion rings. You will also notice they are cooked in a little bit of oil. I have tried making a fat-free version, and spraying the onion rings with PAM to make them crispy. I was not pleased with the results. They had a chemical aftertaste, and were unacceptably soggy.
These onion rings do not need a dipping sauce, but I love the zesty Chili Dipping Sauce that I included with the recipe.