I have a new toy: mesquite flour. A little sweet, a little nutty, and a little smoky, the moment I tasted it, I knew I’d make onion rings. Mesquite flour and onions gazed at each other across the kitchen and started to dance.
So what if they’re not the healthiest snack? I try not to deny my ingredients their whims. These make a wonderful spontaneous addition to a summer afternoon spent with friends in the sun.
This recipe is great with a yellow onion, but it’s awesome with a Walla Walla sweet onion. Try it. They’re in season right now. I also like to add a little coconut oil to my frying oil, in about a 1:4 ratio, coconut oil to canola oil. The coconut oil gives the onion rings just a hint of coconut, a sort of ghost in the background.
I’ve used Redbridge Sorghum beer with this recipe, but most recently made it with Estrella Damm Daura. (My husband surprised me with it one evening!) Any gluten-free beer will work, but Daura certainly gave the best flavor. Daura seems to be a little controversial among celiacs in the States, mainly because it’s made from barley and states on the bottle “Less Than 6 PPM Gluten.” We aren’t used to seeing gluten-free products claim to contain any amount of gluten, let alone be made from barley (usually off-limits), but the reality is that most gluten-free products are simply meeting guidelines for 20 ppm or less. Daura is significantly below that. Its brewing process strips the gluten protein from the barley, but leaves that true beer taste. Here's a review on celiac-disease.com, for more information. It’s delicious and I had no trouble whatsoever tolerating one. Individual reactions to gluten vary; however, Estrella Damm has done some very thorough research into this process to make their beer safe for celiacs. I encourage you to give it a chance.
Beer-Battered Mesquite Onion Rings
Makes about 30
1 yellow onion (Walla Walla or yellow)
60g (1/2 cup) sweet rice flour
60g (1/2 cup) mesquite flour
30g (1/4 cup) tapioca starch
30g (1/4 cup) amaranth flour, plus more as needed
1 Tbls brown sugar
1 tsp salt
dash black pepper (about 4-5 turns of a grinder)
12oz gluten-free beer
Canola and coconut oil for frying
Slice onion into 4-5 sections, depending on how thick you want the rings. Separate rings and set aside, discarding the onion center. Heat canola and coconut oil in a deep pot to medium-high heat. You'll need about 3 inches of oil.
In a medium bowl, combine all flours with sugar and salt. Gradually whisk in beer until the batter is the consistency of pancake batter. Add more amaranth flour as needed to create that consistency. The last inch or so of the beer is for the cook (you probably won’t quite use it all).
When oil is fully heated, dip onion rings in batter to coat and fry about 2 at a time, depending on the size of your pot. You don't want them to touch and stick together. Turn once while frying. Fry about 3 minutes total, or until rings are a deep golden brown. Lift out of the oil, shake off excess, and arrange on a plate covered in 1-2 paper towels. Dust with sea salt. Serve hot, while they're still crispy. The longer they sit, the more likely they are to get soggy.