I always wanted to try tempura.
Last night for dinner I started out doing tomatoes, mozzarella and peppers, then I thought I have scallops and chicken so I threw them into the batter.
"This was FUN".
I liked the idea of light, crunchy vegetables and as we know, everything else tastes good fried. I also liked the idea of seltzer or beer (fizzy) and rice flour as the protagonist. This was on my "short list" of recipes I wanted to make this year. This tempura batter is not the goopy egg, flour and water mixture, it has no egg.
It reminds me of a fish & chip batter, not quite as heavy but light and airy nevertheless. It's extra crispy and with the addition of blanched basil, flavorful. Season well with sea salt at the end and dip in an aioli with 2 vinegars. You have a great first course or a platter for noshing and with seafood, the Japanese version of Fritto Misto. I have to say, the slices of tomatoes were exceptionally tasty, crispy and delicious (try salting after slicing to remove excess moisture as you would with zucchini and eggplant). The uses are endless. The coating stays crunchy even after 2 hours.
Makes 2 cups of batter & 1 cup of aioli
* 1 cup seltzer or club soda, freezing cold
* 1/2 cup AP flour
* 1 cup rice flour
* 1 cup basil leaves, blanched in salted water, squeezed dry and chopped fine
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and place on top of ice. Must be kept ice cold at all times. The batter will have a slight grainy texture as the rice flour does not soak up moisture like AP flour does. That is why the batter remands crunchy even after sitting for hours.
2. With canola oil at 375 degrees F, dip food into batter and let excess drip off and gently lower tomatoes into hot oil. Fry, in batches of 3-4 pieces, until GB&D (golden brown & delicious), about 2-3 minutes. It will not get dark brown like breaded frying. Drain on paper towels, season with sea salt, then move to cooling rack and keep warm in oven while you finish the rest.
3. Tomatoes are wonderful with this batter. I also did chicken, scallops, yellow pepper strips and slices of mozzarella. Onion rings would be the best. Do not expect it to completely coat the food. The whole idea is to add a light crunch.
* 1 egg yolk
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1 teaspoon lemon juice
* 3/4 cups canola oil
* 1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar reduced to a syrup
* 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
* 2 teaspoons Agave nectar or honey
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1. In blender, mix first 4 ingredients. With blender on, drizzle oil in until it gets thick then you can pour in faster. Remove to bowl. Add in garlic.
2. Add the vinegars and agave nectar in next, cover and refrigerate till ready to use. Will last for a month in the refrigerator.
I spent the day testing a zucchini fritter for a recipe site and I think I can not eat another zucchini the rest of the year. I am so afraid of hurting someones feelings I just can't be forthcoming with the right criticism.
* 2 7" zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)
* 1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
* 1 egg, beaten
* 1/3 cup milk
* Pinch of salt
* 1/4 cup oil
Mix first 5 ingredients in bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.
Stir again and using 1/4 cup drop batter into oil.
Fry 3-4 minutes on each side and drain on paper towels.
I tried 3 different ways to saute them without changing the recipe:
1. The way the recipe was written.
The insides were mushy and not cooked through.
2. Flattened into a pancake and fried.
This still resulted in a floppy pancake.
3. The way it was written but baked for 10 minutes in a 400F oven.
A crisp exterior with a creamy interior but cooked all the way through.
This one was done the third way. It was better but I think a pre-salting and a smaller 'drop-in' amount would make the perfect fritter. If I was to make these again I would add something, like scallions and herbs (dill or thyme). I did have to add a teaspoon of salt but they were still bland and tasted more like saltines then zucchini which is why kids will probably eat them.
I am baking a nice piece of salmon and will top it with crab and a Hollandaise sauce.
Have a good Sunday.