Early in my career, I was lucky enough to work in the kitchen of great American chef Jasper White and onion rings came off my station. JP did more than his share of hard work teaching us that New England cuisine could be elegant and he also knows that sometimes you just gotta fry it.
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Ingredients:2 large sweet onions
2 cups buttermilk
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup white cornmeal (yellow is fine, too)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Kosher or sea salt
Instructions:In a deep cast iron skillet, heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees.
Horizontally slice the onions into 1/2 inch wide rounds. Separate the rounds into individual rings. Place in a medium bowl and cover with buttermilk. In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, and cayenne. Shake excess buttermilk off the rings, then dredge in flour. Place back in the buttermilk coat, shake off excess and dredge in the flour again.
Slip the rings into the oil -- do not crowd the pan. Fry about 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining onions.