For the Pie’s birthday dinner, we decided to try deep-frying for the first time. We’d been putting it off because, well, it’s incredibly unhealthy, it’s a dangerous fire risk, and our kitchen has no fume hood so we’d be dealing with the aromas of cooking oil for several days.
But we needed to learn (in the same way that we need to learn everything else we do here). So we decided to try two different methods and make Buffalo chicken strips (with blue cheese dip) and some beer-battered onion rings. Both recipes come from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food magazine. Both recipes involve buttermilk.
Now, though I’m presenting two different recipes here, I’m going to give the instructions to you in the order I did them, because that makes the most sense to me. In order for you to differentiate the two recipes, I’ll preface instructions for the chicken with BCS and use OR for the onions.
OR: Slice 2lb onions into thick rounds and submerge them in 2 cups buttermilk for about an hour before cooking. The buttermilk takes the acidic bite out of the onions, making them sweet and tender. Just a warning: following this recipe results in a heckuva lotta onion rinks, so if you don’t want to fry up a million, I suggest halving it, or even quartering it.
I think we’re about ready to start cooking. While I’m sure you could do these two dishes at the same time, I am far from experienced with hot-oil cooking, rather prone to accidents, and I only have one large-sized element on my stove. So I am going to cook the chicken first, as it doesn’t need to be crispy and can therefore sit in the oven for longer.
As a safety note, we had a box of baking soda handy at all times during this, in case of flareups. Never leave hot oil unattended, and never, NEVER add additional oil of any kind or any temperature to oil that is already hot.
This was a very spatter-y process, so I wore long sleeves and kept my face averted from the pan. My hands kept getting burned from little splashes of oil. In the end I pulled on a pair of work gloves to protect them and worked happily after that.
Make sure to let that oil cool before you move it anywhere.
Use a candy or deep-fry thermometer and continuously adjust the temperature of your element to keep the oil at 375°F. If it gets too cold, it won’t cook the onions all the way through, and if it gets too hot, well … let’s not think about that.
Take a ring of onion out of the buttermilk and dip it in the flour, then into the beer batter. Shake off the excess.
Slide the ring carefully into the hot oil. Cook in small batches, rotating halfway through, for about 5 minutes. Remove to the other rack in the oven to drain and keep warm. This method of frying was wayyyyy less spatter-y, if you were interested to know.