It’s only June, but my vegetable garden is already getting away from me. The tomatoes are starting to come out, though they’re still green, although since the Girl loves picking those bright green balls off the plant I’m doubtful as to how many will be left to make it to maturity, the chard is thriving, all the herbs look beautiful and the zucchini and lettuce are plentiful… possibly too plentiful.
|there are many more like it|
|a zucchini flower, I picked them before taking the picture... |
there were many
And though I do enjoy a good salad and have been known to have some at every meal (but breakfast), there’s only so much one can do with zucchini. As of today, I’ve stuffed it, roasted it, barbecued it, sautéed it, steamed it and cooked it several other ways I won’t go into now, but tonight I was at my whit’s end. So I fried it, cause there’s nothing a good beer batter can’t solve, right?
Now, I never fry, never. I’m afraid of boiling hot oil, my overly active imagination goes into all these Final Destination type scenarios that just give me goose bumps, but occasionally the need for home cooked fried foods trumps my irrational fears and I get the frying oil out. (Incidentally, if you haven’t seen that movie, it’s hilarious… and bloody, and kinda gross… but hilarious.) In any case, considering my lack of expertise in the matter I had to call my mother, so though I may not be a frying expert this post is backed up by her decennial experience in front of the stove (and I say decennial, because as my mother’s only 24 years old it couldn’t possibly have been longer than that).
Anyway, eat this with some salad (to make you feel virtuous after all the frying) and some steak (for protein, one always needs that, right?) and you are good to go!
This is what you need:
200grams (1cup) white flour
½ tsp baking soda (or you can use self-rising flour)
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
200ml good quality beer (chilled)
you can also add some spices like cayenne pepper or paprika, ground rosemary, ground sage, black pepper…. Let your imagination loose, I say, just make sure it’s finely ground and no more than ½ to 1 tsp.
3 small zucchini
10 large, full sage leaves
8 zucchini flowers
8 small mozzarella balls
1 large anchovy filet
|the husband and I couldn't agree on which ingredients picture we liked best so I put both in.|
This is what you do:
First make the batter: mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, add the oil, add the beer and whisk briskly either by hand or with an immersion blender. The beer batter should have the same consistency of pancake batter. Then let sit for at least a half an hour preferably in the fridge, the colder it is, the better also the longer it sits the better so making it several hours ahead is ideal.
Wash and dry the vegetables, cut the zucchini flowers off the zucchini very delicately trying not to break or separate them. Mine broke a bit cause I pulled them directly off the plant before making them and there were many ants I had to wash off vigorously. Let’s leave it at that cause insects gross me out.
Cut the zucchini in french fry like strips.
Stuff the zucchini flowers with a small mozzarella ball (or half if the flower is small) and a small piece of anchovy - approximately a half centimeter wide piece is what I used, it’s on the small side but I’m not a big fan of anchovy, you can use bigger pieces depending on your taste though don’t use too much mozzarella cause it can get runny and ruin the effect. (You may have noticed a distinct lack of pictures for the stuffing process, this is due to my photographer consistently being MIA during the crucial parts, it’s a miracle there are any pictures at all...)
Heat a large pot of whatever oil you prefer to use for frying. Make sure the oil is very hot, but not smoking when you start frying. I put my first pieces in too soon and they didn’t fry properly. I’m just impatient like that.
A good way to test the oil is dropping a drop of batter in there and if it sizzles and immediately rises to the top it’s hot enough.
You then go ahead and fry your stuff. I did the sage leaves first, then the zucchini sticks then the flowers, just because the flowers could leak mozzarella into the oil you don’t want that unholy mess on your hands when frying the other stuff.
And voilà, a coronary in the making, but oh so yummy!
By the way, on a thoroughly unrelated note, this is what we do with cherries at our house: