Monday, September 01, 2008

Burger Bar and Onion Rings

When I made the Chicken Cobb Burger I got a comment from Dan recommending making small burgers so you can experiment with different toppings. The idea stuck with me and when we were trying to think of something for dinner tonight a Burger Bar sounded like a great idea.

We thought onion rings would be a good compliment to the burgers and we'd recently seen an episode of ATK where they made oven-fried onion rings. The recipe was pretty straight-forward and once I got everything together took hardly any time at all. Here are the rings ready to be put in the oven:

The toppings for the burger bar:

... including (from the top going clockwise) Swiss cheese, cooked mushrooms, American cheese, blue cheese, caramelized onions, sliced jalapenos, jalapeno cheese and bacon. The onion rings cooked for about 15 minutes in the oven and got nice and crispy and golden-brown:

We cooked the burgers on the grill with a nice, hot fire so they got a good sear. After topping them with the cheese to melt, I put on the rest of the toppings inside.

We had four different kinds of burgers, including my take on the Spicy Baconator from Wendy's with jalapeno cheese, sliced fresh jalapenos and slices of crispy bacon:

... blue cheese and caramelized onions:

... mushroom and Swiss:

... and a good, old-fashioned American cheeseburger:

Of the four kinds I tried a cheeseburger, adding a little mayo and ketchup:

... and one of the knockoff Spicy Baconators:

The burgers were amazingly good. I loved the different toppings and it was a lot of fun to try different flavor combinations. Unfortunately the onion rings got a tad cold while I took my photos. Next time I'll leave them in the oven until we're just about to eat so they're nice and crispy and hot.

Oven-Fried Onion Rings

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg , at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk , at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Table salt and ground black pepper
30 Saltine crackers
4 cups kettle-cooked potato chips , crumbled into smaller pieces
2 large yellow onions , cut evenly into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
6 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Adjust oven racks to lower-middle and upper-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Place 1/4 cup flour in shallow baking dish. Beat egg and buttermilk together in medium bowl. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup flour, cayenne, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper into buttermilk mixture. Pulse saltines and chips together in food processor until finely ground and place in separate shallow baking dish.

2. Pull apart the rings in each round, discarding any that are less than 2 inches in diameter. Working one at a time, dredge each onion ring in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into bowl, then drop into crumb coating, turning ring to coat evenly. Transfer to large plate and repeat with remaining onion rings.

3. Pour 3 tablespoons oil onto each of two rimmed baking sheets. Place in oven and heat until just smoking, about 8 minutes. Carefully tilt heated sheets to coat evenly with oil, then arrange onion rings on sheets. Bake, flipping onion rings over and switching and rotating position of baking sheets halfway through baking, until golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer onion rings to plates lined with paper towels to drain briefly. Serve immediately.

Oven-Fried Onion Rings can be breaded in advance and refrigerated for up to an hour. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking; if baked straight from the fridge, the onions will not soften properly and will remain crunchy.
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  1. Oven fried onion rings!??!! GENIUS!!

  2. The onion rings do look surprisingly crispy. Yum.

    Love the burger bar idea. I've never actually done cooked mushrooms and onions at home, but I sure need to. I love the spicy cheese, bacon and jalapeno one and the mushroom swiss one. My favorite stuff, for sure.

  3. Katie - I LOVE this recipe because it means no deep-frying! YAY!

    Melissa - They were fantastically crispy! I love this idea and will definitely do it again. And the burger bar was a great idea. Perfect for parties, actually. :)

  4. I absolutely love the idea of a burger bar!!!!

  5. Home Cook--Did you make the burger patties? They look delicious! If so, do you do anything special?

  6. Kitchebelle - We loved doing the burger bar and are already thinking of new topping combinations for next time!

    Yes, I did make the patties. I didn't do anything special, just formed the meat like always, made the center a little flatter so they didn't puff into balls of meat and seasoned the outsides liberally with salt and pepper.

  7. The burger bar idea is really good. I'm a huge fan of make-your-own - I feel it's much more relaxed and fun. I'll definitely have to give this a try one of these days - maybe when the weather's more inviting for a BBQ!

  8. I love the burger bar idea, and those onion rings look FANTASTIC!

  9. Wow, I didn't think you could bake onion rings. Yours look fabulous and I would've had no idea that they were baked. Great job!

  10. I wanted to let you know I did a burger bar for a family gathering this weekend and it was a HUGE hit!!!! The topping combinations are endless!


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