½ cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 large egg, at room temperature
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
30 saltine crackers
4 cups kettle-cooked potato chips
2 large yellow onions, sliced into 24 rings (½-inch thick rounds)
6 tbsp. vegetable oil
step 1: Show Images
Adjust oven racks to lower- and upper-middle positions. Preheat the oven to 450˚ F. Place ¼ cup of the flour in a shallow baking dish. Beat the egg and buttermilk together in a bowl. Whisk the remaining flour, cayenne, salt and pepper into the buttermilk mixture. Combine the saltines and potato chips together in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Place half of the crumb mixture in a second shallow baking dish; reserve the other half.
step 2: Show Images
Working one at a time, dredge each onion ring in flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the onion rings in the buttermilk mixture, allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl, and then dredging in the crumb coating, turning to coat evenly. When the crumb mixture is low, add the reserved crumb mixture to the dish for dredging the remaining onion rings. Transfer the coated rings to a large plate or platter.
step 3: Show Images
Pour 3 tablespoons of the oil onto each of 2 rimmed baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the oven and heat just until smoking, about 8 minutes. Tilt the heated sheets to coat evenly with the oil. Lay the onion rings out in a single layer on the oiled baking sheets. Bake, flipping the onion rings and rotating the pans halfway through baking, until golden brown on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined rack briefly before serving.