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Valerie Bertinelli, host of Food Network's Valerie's Home Cooking and Hulu's Kids Baking Championship, uses pantry stables like club soda and spices to make onion rings with just the right amount of crunch and flavor.
When she wants to turn them into a meal, she likes to put these on a wedge salad with ranch dressing.
- 2 large sweet onions, cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick rings
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- Kosher salt
- 1½ cups milk
- 1 cup club soda
- 1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 200˚F. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet.
Separate the onions into rings and put in a large bowl. Toss with ½ cup flour. Arrange the floured rings on the cooling rack; let stand for 15 minutes.
Fill a large, wide pot with 2 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 365˚F over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 2 cups flour with the cornstarch, paprika, cayenne, lime zest and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Add the milk, club soda and egg and whisk to combine.
Working in 3 or 4 batches, add some of the onions to the batter and then immediately place into the hot oil. Fry until crisp and golden, turning once, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Allow the oil to come back to temperature between batches.
Season the onion rings with salt. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and keep warm in the oven until ready to eat.