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Onion Rings

A stack of moonshine onion rings on a wooden board.
Adam Perry Lang

Prep 25 mins
Cook 5 mins
Total 30 mins
Sides
American
6 to 8 servings

Ingredients 

For the onions

  • 8 cups peanut oil
  • 3 large Spanish onions cut into 1/2-inch-thick (12-mm) slices and separated into rings
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

For the batter

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup moonshine or vodka
  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • About 4 cups panko breadcrumbs (optional)

Directions 

Prepare the onions

  • Heat the oil to 350°F (176°C) in a large, deep-sided pot.
  • Meanwhile, place the onions in a large bowl, pour the milk over the top, and toss to coat the onions. Drain the onions, discarding the milk.
  • Place the flour in a large resealable plastic bag, add the salt and pepper, and shake to mix. Working in batches, add some of the drained onions to the flour, seal the bag, and shake vigorously to coat the onions. Spread the onions on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining onions.

Make the batter

  • Whip the egg whites to soft peaks in a large bowl. Fold in the moonshine or vodka. Sift the cornstarch, salt, black pepper, and cayenne over the egg whites and gently fold to combine.
  • Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Place a wire rack near the baking sheet. Spread the panko, if using, evenly on a second baking sheet.
  • Working in batches, add the onion rings to the batter. Using a fork or a slotted spoon, remove the rings from the batter, one at a time, and allow any excess to drain off. If desired, toss the onion rings in the panko and flip them over to coat. One by one, carefully drop the coated onions into the hot oil without crowding them and cook them in small batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the onion rings with a slotted spoon and transfer to the lined baking sheet to drain briefly. Sprinkle with salt and then transfer to the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining onion rings.
  • Serve 'em steaming hot from the oil or still pretty hot.