I like to invite my guests to enjoy a drink while I fry the onions; then I offer baskets of onion rings fresh from the fryer. Make the batter at least an hour before you plan to fry, as it needs to rest.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Combine the beer and oil and pour into the flour mixture, stirring all the while with a whisk until just combined. Don’t beat the batter. Let stand for at least 1 hour.
Peel the onions, cut them into 1/2-inch slices and carefully separate them into rings. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a large pot over high heat. While the oil is heating, beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Gently fold the whites into the batter. When the oil reaches 365°F, dip the rings into the batter and then drop them into the oil; don’t crowd the pot. Fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Remove the rings with a wire-mesh strainer and let excess oil drip back into the pot. Drain on a rack set over a baking sheet and serve when you have a plateful. Wait for the oil to return to 365° before adding the next batch; try to maintain that temperature as you fry. Have guests salt their onion rings at the table.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Ben Fink