For as long as I can remember, I've had an infatuation with onion rings, but only the fresh rings, either dipped in batter or dredged in a seasoned dry mix and floated in hot oil. I like the extra large white or yellow Spanish onions, the white being the more pungent one. And if you're a fan of sweet onions, Vidalia and Walla Walla are delicious.

June 22 is National Onion Rings Day, so I asked my morning listeners to call in and give a shoutout for their favorite place that serves the best onion rings around the SouthCoast.

I have a hard time figuring out why French fries make mincemeat out of onion rings in food polls. The golden fried onion ring is crispy and pleasant-tasting, light and savory, and arguably the perfect side to any burger. Rather than fish and chips, I ask if it's possible to substitute onion rings for the French fries.

While I was making inquiries into the exact origins of onion rings, I found out that the cooking process decomposes the strong smelling propanethial oxide in the onion into a tasty, finger-licking good side dish.

In John Mollard's 1802 cookbook, The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined, page 152 has a recipe called "Fried Onion with Parmesan cheese." I'm amazed that a recipe 209 years old is unchanging from how we prepare them in 2021. The recipe calls for dipping the rings in a batter made of flour, cream, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese and fried until golden brown.

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Let's get this blooming ball rolling by naming off some of the hot spots around the SouthCoast recommended by listeners for the best hand made onion rings. J&J Seafood in Lakeville on County Street, Gene's Famous Seafood on Route 6 in Fairhaven and Kool Kone on Route 6 in Wareham received very high praise.

Truth be told, my favorite little nook in Acushnet stopped making them during COVID, leaving me inconsolable.

When you crave hand made onion rings, where do you go? Feel free to chime in!

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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