Rocco's Faux-Fried Onion Rings with Smokey Mayonnaise

Chef Rocco DiSpirito's recipe healthfully approximates the crispy-crunchy texture of the deep-fried experience by using panko breadcrumbs, cooking spray, and a hot oven. The crumbs are made from crustless bread, so they're lighter and crunchier than traditional breadcrumbs. To purchase your copy of Rocco's book Now Eat This!, click here.

2 cups skim milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp liquid smoke
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 egg whites

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 deg F. Place a wire baking rack 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 liquid smoke. Serve the onion rings with the mayonnaise for dipping.

Nutrition Facts
4.7g fat
342 calories
14g protein
64g carbohydrates
10mg cholesterol
8g fiber
519mg sodium

Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito is a popular television personality and the author of numerous hit cookbooks including his current New York Times bestseller Now Eat This! available wherever books are sold.

NOW EAT THIS! a Ballantine Trade Paperback Original by Rocco DiSpirito (c) 2010 Spirit Media, LLC