The majority of Norwegian immigrants lived in the farming communities of the upper Midwest making their homes in the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and North and South Dakota. They settled in cities such as Brooklyn, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Seattle.
Once the first Norwegians came to an area, others often followed, particularly after the Homestead Act of 1862 that made Minnesota land available almost free for the asking. Norwegian immigrants developed commercial fishing along the North Shore, worked in the Iron Range mines and offered trades needed in their areas.
Why did Norwegians leave their homeland?
In the 19th century, Norway was a difficult place for the common folk. Its population was increasing and they were squeezed onto the slivers of land that could be cultivated — only 3 percent of the country. Farm mechanization pushed out landless laborers, and a rigid social hierarchy gave them no chance to improve their situation.
So, they left. Starting in the late 1830s, Norwegians came to America.
Those who had a farming background headed to Norwegian settlements in the coulee country of southwest Wisconsin, the bluff country of southeast Minnesota and Iowa and then the fertile Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota. Norwegians who fished headed for the shorelines of Door County and Minnesota’s North Shore. By 1915, Norway had lost 750,000 people to the United States, contributing, after Ireland, the highest percentage of its population to the new country. Norwegians often chose land that reminded them of home.
They also tried to carry on their Norwegian traditions here in America. Each Christmas, Norwegian-Americans headed to the nearest Norsk deli to buy lutefisk that once was a staple for peasants in Norway. They grated potatoes for lefse, a flat peasant bread, and rolled thin butter cookies on krumkake irons for their holiday celebrations. There are more than 4.5 million people of Norwegian ancestry in the United States today. Norwegian Americans actively celebrate and maintain their heritage in many ways. Much of it centers on the Lutheran-Evangelical churches they were born into. Culinary customs, national dress, and Norwegian holidays (Syttende Mai, May 17) are also popular.
Norwegian cuisine in its traditional form was based largely on the natural materials readily available in Norway and by its geography. Norwegian fare had a strong focus on fish and game. A gradual transition to American life weakened immigrant folkways. Some traditions and customs survived and were cultivated, others were reintroduced and given importance as a part of their ethnic heritage. Toward the end of the century, lutefisk became known as a Norwegian American dish. It was served at lodge meetings, festive banquets, and church suppers, most regularly during the Christmas season.
Lutefisk is whitefish — which refers to several species of finned fish such as cod, ling, or burbot — that has been air-dried and may or may not be salted. It is first soaked in cold water for five or six days, with the water changed daily. The saturated fish is again soaked for two days in an unchanged solution of cold water and lye. Lye is a substance obtained by leaching ashes and is also known as sodium hydroxide. After this weeklong process, the fish loses half of its protein and gains a jelly-like consistency. At this point, it needs another four to six days of soaking in cold water, refreshed daily, before it is ready to be cooked. Since the saturated fish is quite delicate, a layer of salt is added about a half-hour before it is cooked. This releases some of the water being held in the fish. It is then placed in a sealed pan and steam cooked on low heat for 20-25 minutes, or wrapped in aluminum foil and baked at 435 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. Since Minnesota has a large population of Norwegian immigrants, lutefisk is quite popular in the Twin Cities and their surrounding areas. It can be served a number of ways, but some of the more common ones are with boiled potatoes, green peas, melted butter, small pieces of bacon, horseradish, or cheese.
Aquavit is Norway’s famous exported liquor made from potatoes. Distillers flavor it with spice bags of caraway seeds or star anise. After the warm alcohol passes through the bags, it is aged in wood barrels. Cold-pressed, clear Aquavit isn’t aged but is served slightly chilled with herring, cold meat, and fatty dishes. Norwegians serve dark Aquavit, that has been aged for several years, after dinner.
Here are some Norwegian American style recipes for you to make at home.
Pan-Fried White Fish
1 lb white fish fillets
1 large egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
6 tablespoons butter
Norwegian Lemon Butter Sauce, recipe below
For the Pan-Fried White Fish
Check to make sure all the fish bones have been removed. Season the fillets with the salt and white pepper.
Lightly whisk the egg in a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl combine the breadcrumbs with ¼ teaspoon salt.
Dip the fillets in the egg and then dredge in the breadcrumbs.
Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat and add the butter. Fry the fillets until they are golden brown.
Place the fillets on a paper towel. Transfer the fish to a serving plate and drizzle with the lemon sauce.
Norwegian Lemon Butter Sauce (Sandefjords Mor)
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Salt to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
Place the lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Add cream; whisk to combine. Continue to cook until the cream reduces and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 or 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Whisk in a few pieces of cold butter, stirring until the butter melts before adding more. Continue adding the butter a few pieces at a time until all the butter is emulsified into the cream. Add salt, cayenne pepper, and chopped parsley. Whisk until well blended. Keep sauce warm until ready to use.
Sour Cream-Chive Mashed Carrots & Parsnips
Norway has a long history with root vegetables. They are grown in many parts of the country and can generally be easily stored. Norwegians have favorites – like rutabaga, carrots, and potatoes – but more and more, others are being used more frequently in cooking, such as turnips, parsnips, and beets.
8 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (4 cups)
2-3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (2 cups)
1/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
Place carrots and parsnips in a large saucepan. Add water to cover and bring to a boil. Boil until very tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain well and return to the pan.
Use a potato masher or ricer to finely mash the vegetables. Add sour cream, 2 tablespoons chives, milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring until heated through. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of chives.
Green Beans with Dill Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 pound green beans
Stir together the vinegar, mustard, and salt in a small bowl until the ingredients are combined and the salt has dissolved. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the oil and continue to whisk until emulsified. Gently stir in chopped dill and set aside.
Steam green beans until tender. Drain. Arrange green beans in a serving dish and season with a little bit of salt. Pour the dill dressing over the green beans. Mix well and leave at room temperature until serving time.
For the bottom layer
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen and thawed)
For the top layer
1/3 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the bottom layer
In a large bowl mix the butter into the brown sugar with a pastry blender until crumbly. If using frozen rhubarb, dry on paper towels after draining. Stir the rhubarb into the brown sugar and butter. Divide the mixture evenly into a well greased 12 cup muffin pan. Do not use muffin papers. Set this aside.
For the top layer
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the egg and mix until well combined.
In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
Once blended, add to the creamed butter mixture in small amounts alternating with the cream.
Spoon the batter mixture evenly over the rhubarb layer in the muffin cups.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top of the batter is golden brown.
Remove from the oven, set on a cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
Place a serving dish on top of the muffin pan and flip the two over so that the bottom of the buns are right-side up.
Serve while still warm.
The word “spiedino” is a diminutive of “spiedo” the Italian food term for skewered meat. Spiedini, or “skewers,” are a popular way of grilling throughout Italy, from north to south. Small pieces of meat, fish, vegetables, and even cheese are skewered on a spiedo, or “stick,” and then cooked over a flame. This recipe is one I have adapted from the Italian restaurant, Carrabba’s Italian Grill.
Spiedino Di Mare (Skewered Seafood)
6 oz sea scallops
6 oz large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs, for breading
Lemon Butter Sauce, recipe below
Fresh parsley, chopped
Bamboo or metal skewers
Simmered Italian Seasoned Rice, recipe below
If using bamboo skewers, soak them in warm water for a 1/2 hour.
Season the scallops and shrimp with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the grated garlic to the breadcrumbs.
Lightly coat the seafood with olive oil, then dip in the seasoned breadcrumbs.
Preheat a stovetop grill and oil the grill.
Skewer the shellfish and grill on both sides just until the shrimp turn a light pink.
Place the grilled seafood on the prepared rice and pour the lemon butter sauce over the shellfish. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top.
Lemon Butter Sauce
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Black Pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Add the lemon juice to the butter and warm briefly.
Add Worcestershire sauce and pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside.
Simmered Italian Seasoned Rice
1 3/4 cups Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the broth and Italian seasoning in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil.
Stir the rice into the broth. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Stir in the cheese.
Italian Peppers and Onions
4 bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 onion, sliced thinly
4 whole garlic cloves skin removed
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Few leaves of fresh basil, chopped
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and cover the bottom with olive oil. Place the whole garlic cloves in the oil and let the garlic infuse the oil and begin to caramelize. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove the garlic.
Add the peppers, onions, oregano, red pepper, salt, and pepper and allow the vegetables to cook down and soften turning them over a few times. This should take about 15 minutes.
Place the vegetables in a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped basil.
Italian Style Crab Cakes
I use Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset Blend which is a combination of basil, oregano, red bell pepper, garlic, thyme, fennel, black pepper, and anise. You can also use dried Italian seasoning.
1 lb fresh lump crabmeat, cleaned and shells removed
2 tablespoons chopped red bell pepper
1 shallot, minced
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Tuscan blend seasoning or salt-free dried Italian seasoning
⅓ cup olive oil mayonnaise
2 tablespoons homemade or store-bought basil pesto
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
8 thin tomato slices
Lemon Butter Aioli
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove small garlic minced or grated
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of salt and pepper
Make the aioli
Whisk the melted butter with the ½ cup mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, pinch of cayenne, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl until smooth and combined, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the crab cakes
In a large bowl, mix together all crab the cake ingredients except the oil and the tomatoes. Using 1/3 cup mixture for each, shape into eight 3-inch patties.
In 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat until hot. Add patties; cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Drain on paper towels.
To serve place each crab cake on a tomato slice and top each cake with a tablespoon of Lemon Butter Aioli.
Meunière refers to both a sauce and a method of preparing fish. The word itself means “miller’s wife”. To cook something à la meunière is to first dredge the fish in flour and then saute in butter, chopped parsley, and lemon.
The first time Julia Child ate sole meunière was in 1948 at La Couronne in Rouen, France. Rumor has it this is the dish that transformed her into a French cook.
Unlike a lot of classic French cuisine, sole meunière requires almost no advance preparation and very little time at the stove. It is one of the quickest dinner preparations and you probably have flour, salt, pepper, butter, and lemon on hand. All you need is the fish. That fish does not have to be Dover sole, especially given that in recent years, its sustainability has become an issue (not to mention the fact that it is very expensive). Other flat, white, flaky fish will taste delicious when pan-fried and smothered in butter.
West Coast Dover Sole is a great alternative. Unlike the European Dover Sole, West Coast Dover Sole is a member of the flounder family. It is rated as a Best Choice by Seafood Watch and comes from Astoria, Oregon, a small fishing town located at the mouth of the Columbia River just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean.
I use West Coast Dover Sole in this recipe. Unlike the European Dover Sole, West Coast Dover Sole is a member of the flounder family. It is rated as a Best Choice by Seafood Watch and comes from Astoria, Oregon, a small fishing town located at the mouth of the Columbia River just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. It is available for online purchase from Sea To Table.
4 small sole or flounder fillets, about 12 ounces total
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup flour (or cornstarch for gluten-free)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 lemon, cut into slices
Gently rinse and pat dry the fillets with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge the fish in flour on both sides, shaking off excess flour. Place on a plate and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium/high heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes, then add the butter and stir together. When the butter stops foaming (about 40 seconds), add the fish and pan-fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Carefully turn the fish over with a wide spatula and cook until done, another 2-3 minute, adding the lemon slices during the last 20 seconds of cooking. Remove the fish to a serving plate and pour the browned butter and lemon sauce over the fillets. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Italian Baked Tomatoes
1 large beefsteak tomato, halved horizontally
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Place tomatoes cut-side up in a baking pan. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
2 medium zucchini
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup flour (or gluten-free or low carb flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
Olive oil, for cooking
Place shredded zucchini in a colander and sprinkle the salt over it, tossing well to evenly distribute the salt. Allow the zucchini to drain for at least 30 minutes, and longer if possible. After it has drained, place zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out all excess water. Place the zucchini in a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients, except the oil. Mix well.
Heat a stovetop griddle or a large skillet. Brush with olive oil. Dip a 1/4 cup measuring cup or scoop into the batter, level off. Drop the batter into the pan and gently push it into a flat pancake shape with the back of a metal spatula. Cook for 5 minutes adjusting the heat up or down as needed, then turn the fritters over and cook for another 5 minutes until crispy. Add more oil to the pan as needed to prevent sticking.
Drain the zucchini fritters on a paper towel before serving.
Scallops & Shrimp In Lemon Butter Sauce
Serve over rice and add a green vegetable.
1 pound large sea scallops
1 lb large (16-20) shrimp, shells and tails removed and deveined
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 large finely diced shallot
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper
Wash and pat the seafood dry with paper towels.
Heat the butter and olive oil together in a large deep skillet. When the butter has melted, add the shallot, lemon juice, and chives. Simmer for a minute. Add the shellfish in a single layer. Cook about 1-2 minutes or as soon as the bottom of the shrimp turn pink, Turn the shellfish over with tongs and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Grind fresh black pepper over the fish and serve the shellfish and sauce over rice.
Italian Sausage & Pepper Frittata
Serve with a tomato a salad and your favorite rolls.
1 lb sweet Italian pork sausage, cut into one-inch slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove
8 whole eggs whisked
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh basil for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet
Add the sausage slices and brown evenly. Add the crushed red pepper spice, onion, and garlic. Saute. Add the peppers and cook until softened. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the beaten eggs over the sausage mixture slowly to cover.
Top the egg/sausage mixture with shredded cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the eggs are set and edges begin to turn golden brown.
Garnish with fresh chopped basil once the frittata has baked.
Let it sit to cool a bit, and then cut into serving pieces.
Serve with rice or buttered noodles and sautéed carrots.
3 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head broccoli, stems removed and florets cut in half
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour or cornstarch or arrowroot
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup cream
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool slightly.
Place the broccoli into a large pot, cover with salted water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until barely tender, 2–3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Rub the inside of a deep 2-quart casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter; set aside.
Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Gradually pour in stock and cream while whisking constantly. Cook until very thick, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and 1/2 cup of the cheese; stir until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Remove cheese sauce from the heat and let cool slightly.
Arrange the broccoli in the prepared dish in a single layer and place the chicken evenly over the top. Pour the white sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
Lemon Butter Chicken With Roasted Vegetables
4 lb whole organic chicken
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
4 oz unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of one lemon
A handful of fresh herbs
Vegetables For Roasting
3 large carrots
2 large onions
A handful of fresh mushrooms
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Season the chicken with salt and pepper, both inside and out.
Use a roasting pan with a rack, place the vegetables on the rack. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the chicken breast side up on top of the vegetables. Place the herbs in the cavity of the chicken.
Pour the garlic butter over the chicken. Bake on the lower oven rack for 1 to1 ½ hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 180°F (82°C). Baste with the juices from the bottom of the pan every 20 minutes.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, another way to tell if the chicken is done is to poke a skewer between thigh and breast. The juices should run clear, not pink.
Let rest ten minutes before slicing.
Roasted Orangetti Squash
Orangetti Squash is a spaghetti squash variety that is orange instead of yellow. It has a thick, hard, golden-orange rind, with small tan flecks on the rind. The flesh is also golden-orange, with a mild flavor.
1 large orangetti spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, and scoop the seeds out of each.
Rub about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the flesh of each half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place the squash cut-side down in a baking pan with sides and roast 40-45 minutes.
When the squash is cool enough to handle, gently scrape the flesh with a fork to release spaghetti-like strands into a serving bowl.
Pour some of the lemon butter sauce from the chicken over the squash strands and toss. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
Other Serving suggestions:
Season with garlic, red pepper flakes, chili powder; butter and parmesan cheese to taste; or serve with your favorite marinara sauce or pesto.
Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits
2 cups unbleached self-rising flour
1/4 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
3/4 cup (6 ounces) cold milk or buttermilk
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Place the flour in a bowl. Work in the butter or shortening with a pastry blender just until crumbs are the size of large peas. Add the jalapenos and cheddar.
Add the milk, and stir until the mixture holds together and leaves the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if needed.
Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface, and fold it over on itself several times, using more flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Pat the dough into a 5″ x 8 rectangle about 1/2 thick.
With a sharp knife, cut the rectangle into 8 rectangular biscuits. Place on the biscuits on a parchment covered baking sheet.
Bake the biscuits for 10 to 14 minutes, or until they’re a light golden brown.
Remove them from the oven, and serve hot. Cool leftovers completely, wrap airtight, and store at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage. To refresh room-temperature biscuits, place on a baking sheet, tent lightly with foil, and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 to 13 minutes, until heated through.
Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Shallot-Thyme Butter
2 rib-eye steaks, 6-8 ounces each
2 tablespoons coarsely ground peppercorns
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
5 chive leaves, minced
1 small shallot or half of a large shallot, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
Prepare the butter: Mash the butter with a fork, integrating all the remaining butter ingredients. Add 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
Prepare an outdoor gas or charcoal grill and oil the grill grates. (You can also use a grill pan to cook the steak. Oil the grill pan after it gets very hot.)
Season the steaks with the peppercorns and salt. Press the mixture into the steaks.
When the fire is ready or the grill pan is very hot, grill the steaks for about 3 minutes per side for rare, and about a minute or two longer for medium-rare to medium.
Remove the steaks to a serving platter and place 2 tablespoons of the butter on each steak. Let rest 5 minutes and serve.
4 cups chopped fresh spinach leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil and butter, and stir it around so it melts. Saute the onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the spinach in batches, pushing it down with a wooden spoon to help it wilt. Keep adding more spinach when there is room in the pot.
Cook the spinach until it is wilted, then lower the heat and add the cream and cream cheese.
Stir and cook for about 5 minutes until the cheese is dissolved throughout the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.
Oven-Baked Onion Rings
1 large sweet onion – ends trimmed off, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
3 cups panko breadcrumbs, or more if needed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Olive oil cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Separate the onion slices into individual rings. Place the onion rings in a bowl of ice-cold water before coating.
Whisk eggs with cream in a bowl until thoroughly combined; season egg mixture with a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Place flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Place panko crumbs in a separate bowl.
Place the onion rings on paper towels to remove extra moisture from the soaking.
Work with one or two onion slices at a time, place them into the bag of flour mix.
Seal the bag and shake until the onion rings are well coated with flour.
Place flour-coated onion rings into the egg mixture, a few at a time, and toss lightly with tongs until coated.
Place rings into panko crumbs and gently shake the bowl to toss the crumbs with the onion rings until rings are coated with crumbs.
Transfer coated onion rings to a large baking sheet; spray rings lightly with cooking spray.
Bake in the preheated oven until the onion rings are tender and crumbs are lightly golden brown, about 15 minutes.