Baked Onion Rings

I do my best to avoid frying anything; not because of health reasons but because I hate having to clean up oil splatter and inevitably I always end up with an oil stain on my shirt no matter what efforts I take to avoid it. So, whenever I can make one of my favorite foods that normally has to be fried baked I’m all for it – thank heaven for my doughnut pan! Today’s not fried but baked recipe I would like to share with you is Onion Rings!

To begin I sliced a small sweet onion and separated the rings. You can use any sweet onion to make these: Vidalia, Walla Walla, etc… Random fact, sweet onions have a lower sulfur content than other onions so you are less likely to cry when slicing them. I know this from experience! When I cook and am using onions they are always the last thing I cut so I can ensure I won’t end up slicing my finger while cutting other things because I am trying to control my onion crying fit.

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Next I combined panko bread crumbs with olive oil, salt and pepper and baked it on a rimmed baking sheet until they were golden brown. I then transferred them to a shallow bowl. I also put flour and two lightly beaten eggs in shallow bowls as well and was then ready to prep my onion rings for baking.

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I dipped the onion rings in the flour, then the eggs and finally in the bread crumb mixture and placed them on a baking sheet that I rubbed with olive oil. Once the sheet was full I baked the rings in a pre-heated 450 F oven for 12 minutes, flipping the rings once.

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Right out of the oven….

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After letting them cool for a few minutes I enjoyed them with a side of ranch dress – thank-you Johnny Rockets for introducing me to that winning combination! In case you are wondering, baking the rings still gives the crumb coating that crunch you are familiar with when frying them, but, I also think it makes the onion itself tender and sweeter!

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Baked Onion Rings

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 small sweet onion, sliced and rings separated

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 F. In a small bowl combine the bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Transfer the crumbs to a rimmed baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, tossing once. Transfer the crumbs to a shallow bowl. In two other shallow bowls place the flour and eggs.

Rub the remaining oil on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Dip the onion rings in the flour first, then the eggs (allowing any excess to drip off) and finally in the bread crumb mixture. Bake on the prepared baking sheets for 12 to 14 minutes, turning once.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce; my go-to for onion rings is ranch dressing.

Recipe from Real Simple

Tomato and Corn Custard Pie

A few weeks ago I posted about a Tomato Fontina Torte with Rosemary Crust that was quite delicious. I got the recipe from a recent issue of Food Network Magazine, well, when I went to put the recipe back into my recipe binder (I’m one of those super-organized individuals) I noticed another recipe that I must have overlooked when I flipped through the magazine, a recipe for a Tomato and Corn Custard Pie that I knew I had to try and finally got around to it earlier this week. It ended up being the perfect combination of sweet and savory.

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To begin I baked the pie crust. I wish I had used my crust cover while baking the crust so it wouldn’t have browned as much during the final cooking with the actual pie in it.

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While the crust was in the oven I prepped all of my ingredients. I began by coring the tomatoes and slicing them into quarters. I then tossed them with kosher salt and spread them on a paper towel lined baking sheet so they could release their juices.

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Next I chopped up 6 scallions and divided them into two bowls and lightly beat three eggs. I took two major shortcuts for this recipe… I used pre-shredded sharp cheddar cheese and instead of using fresh corn I opted to use frozen corn that I steamed in the microwave.

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Following that I reserved 1/2 cup of the cooked corn in a large bowl and placed the remaining corn, about 1 1/2 cups, in a sauté pan with heavy cream and brought it to a simmer on medium heat.

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I then poured the mixture into the bowl of my food processor and blended it until it was smooth.

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I transferred the pureed corn-heavy cream mixture to the bowl with the reserved corn and whisked in the eggs, half of the cheese and scallions and some fresh ground black pepper.

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I poured this mixture into my cooked pie crust and placed it in a 350 F oven for 35 minutes until it was just set.

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While the custard was cooking in the oven I mixed the remaining scallions and cheese along with panko breadcrumbs and seasoned it with paprika, salt and pepper.

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I reserved 1/4 cup of the mixture and tossed the remaining mixture with the tomatoes.

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Once I removed the pie from the oven I increased the oven temperature to 400 F…

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And then topped the pie with the reserved mixture and placed the coated tomatoes on top of the pie and topped it with the remaining panko mixture left in the bowl. Finally I dotted the top of the pie with a tablespoon of butter.

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I placed the pie back in the oven for another 15 minutes, until the top was golden, and let it cool for a bit before slicing into it.

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Final verdict… Absolutely delicious! The custard is a tad bit sweet because of the corn and the panko breadcrumb topping is on the savory side because of the addition of the scallions, paprika and cheddar cheese. This is a definite winner I can see myself making many times to come!

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Tomato and Corn Custard Pie

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

1 round refrigerated pie dough (half of a 14-ounce package)

2 beefsteak tomatoes (about 12 ounces)

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ears of corn, kernels cut off (1 to 1 1/2 cups) *I opted to use a 10 ounce bag of frozen corn that I steamed in the microwave)

1 cup heavy cream

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

6 scallions, chopped

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme*

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Pinch of cayenne pepper*

*I omitted these two spices from my version

Directions:

1. Position racks in the middle and upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough, crimping the edge with your fingers. Poke the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Line with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake on the middle rack until golden around the edge, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights; continue baking until golden all over, about 10 more minutes.

2. Meanwhile, core the tomatoes and cut into 1/2-inch wedges; toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Spread the tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels to drain until ready to use.

3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the corn and cook stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer 1/2 cup of the corn to a large bowl.

4. Add the heavy cream to the saucepan with the remaining corn and bring to a simmer. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blends and puree until smooth; transfer to the bowl with the corn. Whisk in the eggs, half each of the scallions and cheese, and a few grinds of black pepper; pour into the crust. Bake of the middle rack until the custards is just set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 400 F.

5. Mix the remaining scallions and cheese, the panko, thyme, paprika and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the mixture on top of the pie. Pat the tomato wedges with paper towels to absorb the excess moisture, then coat with the remaining panko mixture and arrange on top of the tart. Sprinkle any remaining panko on top; dot with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Return to the oven on the upper rack and bake until the top is golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool 30 minutes before slicing.