There are two types of onion rings (the side order, not the crisps): posh and cheap. Cheap onion rings, the ones that come in massive frozen bags in Iceland, are made with a chopped onion gunge made into a ring, covered in batter or breadcrumbs and deep fried. Next to scallops, crème brûlée and pork scratchings, they are among my favourite foodstuffs on this planet.
Posh onion rings are almost identical, except the onion gunge is replaced by a single, actual onion ring – like what you’d get if you chopped an onion and separated the slices.
And I fucking hate them.
For a start, the proportion of onion to batter is all wrong; you get very little onion for your buck. Cheap onion rings are made on an assembly line and are uniformly shaped, providing the optimal batter to onion ratio. Posh onion rings, prepared as they are in a gastropub kitchen, are generously dipped into batter by the hand of a failed chef, and because the most important thing is to make sure the whole ring is covered, almost always the coverage errs on the side of caution, meaning a shitload of batter encases each pathetic little circle of onion. And this issue is only exacerbated by a killer design flaw: when you take a bite out of a posh onion ring, the whole of the onion inside is pulled through the batter casing and into your mouth. And all you are left with, in addition to too much molten onion in your mouth, is a shell of fatty batter. Which on its own is rather disgusting.
The onion gunge in a cheap onion ring may not be fancy, but it’s tasty, and it knows how to yield to your bite. Each and every mouthful is a beautifully balanced combo of batter/breadcrumbs and tangy vegetable. They are a delight.
Iceland 1 – Hogshead 0.