Now Eat This, 150 of America's Favorite Comfort Foods all under 350 Calories. Not that I mind, Rocco is pretty easy on the eyes as I'm sure you would agree. Anyway, when Steve and I watched him promote his new healthy cookbook on Rachael Ray, Steve commented on these onion rings and said that I should try them. They looked great and since they were healthy they sounded like the perfect addition to my not very healthy Steakhouse themed dinner.
My review of this recipe is completely honest so please read through to the very end. The recipe isn't hard to make at all and had I not been rushing I think they would have come out better. First let me just say that finding whole wheat panko is not easy. I found one small package and paid about $4 for it. Seems like a lot for breadcrumbs. That being said, I will try them with regular panko bread crumbs because I think they will still be healthy. They are baked not fried, made with egg whites instead of whole eggs, and whole wheat flour is used over white. Correct me if I'm wrong but won't regular white panko bread crumbs be just as good? I've even seen seasoned panko and I think that would really up the flavor here. The onion rings definitely had crunch and texture which is what I really liked. I didn't like the dryness of all that wheat. Maybe it's my fault, maybe I overcooked them, it certainly wouldn't be the first time I messed up. I know the other problem was that I completely forgot to spray them with cooking spray and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. That was a huge mistake because the outside had no taste at all. That's what happens when you're chit chatting , running late, and trying to cook a new recipe at the same time. The next day I experimented with the leftovers and sprayed them with cooking spray and seasoned them with salt. To be honest, they weren't bad for leftovers. These aren't the kind of things that are better the next day but they were so much more edible with that little bit of oil and salt. So, I think that when I try it again (and I will), I will use seasoned panko, spray them with oil and make sure I don't forget the salt.
Sorry this is post is so long, I'll try to wrap it up. Rocco's seasoned mayo called for liquid smoke. I didn't feel compelled to buy it for this recipe so I added, smoked paprika, bbq spice, salt and hot sauce to a little mayo. It was tasty and it had to have been better than Rocco's because smoked paprika has a ton of flavor and the color made it very appealing.
So even though I had some issues I would try this again. If you try them let me know what you think and if you follow the recipe exactly or with any changes.
Rocco DiSpirito's Faux Onion Rings with Smoky Mayonnaise
as seen here on Rachael Ray's Daytime show.
4 large Vidalia onions, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 cups skim milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
4 large egg whites
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup Rocco’s Magnificent Mayonnaise or store- bought reduced- fat mayonnaise such as Hellmann’s Low- Fat Mayonnaise Dressing
1 tablespoon liquid smoke, such as Stubs’s
Separate the onions into individual rings. Use only the larger rings for this recipe; reserve the smaller rings for another use. You should have 20 rings total. Lay the rings in a single layer in a large rectangular baking dish. Pour the milk over the rings and allow them to soak for about 20 minutes, turning them once so that all surfaces of the onion rings have been exposed to the milk.
Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Place wire baking racks on each of two foil- lined baking sheets, and set them aside.
Put the flour in a shallow dish. Put the panko in a small dish.In a large bowl, whip the egg whites with a whisk until they are extremely foamy but not quite holding peaks.
Working in batches, remove the onion rings from the milk and dredge them in the flour, shaking off any excess. Add the rings to the egg whites and toss to coat completely. Add the rings, a few pieces at a time, to the panko and coat completely.
Spread the onion rings out on the wire racks. Season the rings generously with salt and pepper, and spray them lightly with cooking spray. Bake until the panko is golden brown and crispy and the onions are tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and the liquid smoke. Season to taste with Tabasco.
Serve the onion rings with the mayonnaise for dipping.
Click here for a printable recipe for Rocco's Faux Onion Rings.