Category Archives: fried
Every year about this time I find myself craving squash blossoms–it’s a habit I developed in 2006 when Marcella Ansaldo at Apicius taught me how to make them–that such a thing existed. It’s terribly disappointing to me that they didn’t exist in my life earlier. My parents grew squash each summer growing up in Missouri–what a missed opportunity!
These are very simple–the key to making them fantastic amounts to three things. 1) Thin batter 2) Salt and 3) hot oil.
Fried Squash Blossoms Recipe
Leffe beer, or other beer or champagne
12-20 squash blossoms*
White flour, as fine as can be
Safflower or other frying oil
Wash the squash blossoms in a lot of water, gently rinsing the insides if possible. Spin dry or allow to dry upside down for an hour or two. If they are wet, they will spit when fried and hurt you! For especially large blossoms, you may want to check for any worms or creatures inside near the stem.
Begin heating your oil to an appropriate frying heat (as hot as you can stand the spitting, basically–and trust, this takes some experience to figure out, just go for it and in time you’ll be a pro on your stove) in a manageable sized pan. I find a smaller pan (a 9″ cast iron, in my case) works better when you don’t *have* to crank out a huge volume–better control.
For about 15 squash blossoms, put 3-4 heaping tablespoons of flour into a smallish mixing bowl. Add a generous pinch of salt. Add beer or champagne little by little, until you get a batter the consistency of cold maple syrup, or a little thicker than cream. Add more flour and a touch of salt if needed as you go.
When the oil is hot, dip each flower in the batter and let the excess drip off before placing into the oil. It should float to the top and begin sizzling immediately. If not, raise the heat and wait a minute or two. Place onto paper towels or a drying/cooling rack. Sprinkle with additional salt immediately.
When you bite in, they should smell of the alcohol you used (in a very pleasant way) and should be crisp on the outside, tender at the stem area. It’s one of my very favorite summer delicacies.
* If you have difficulty finding these, check your local farmers’ market at any vendor who sells zucchini or summer squash. If they don’t have them, ask them if they can bring some the next week for you. They only keep 1-3 days at best, and they’ll need to be kept dry to prevent decay and cool, such as within a plastic ventilated container within the crisper of your refrigerator. It’s best to use them the same day they are picked.
From A Platter of Figs – totally doable on a Tuesday night, shopping and all!
Recipe for Fried Baby Artichokes and Potatoes with Flank Steak
1.5-2lb flank steak
2 C new potatoes or other tender spring potatoes, washed, boiled until just tender and halved/quartered
8-10 baby artichokes, outter layers peeled, tops cut off and halved or quartered*
4 cloves garlic, minced
10 sprigs parsley (or more/less), chopped finely
1.5 C arugula, optional
2 T olive oil
lots of vegetable oil (sunflower or safflower or other high heat oil)
salt & pepper
* As you clean and prep the artichokes, place them in acidulated water (water with juice of a lemon or lime) to prevent browning.
For the Steak
Generously salt & pepper both sides of the flank steak and set aside. Can refrigerate overnight ahead or season within 2 hours of cooking and leave out at room temp.
For the Potatoes & Artichokes
Prep all ingredients ahead. Heat the grill for the steak and begin cooking steak as you start this processs:
Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and cook the artichokes until beginning to color. This is to remove moisture and prepare for frying. Add the potatoes after about 2-3 minutes of cooking and cook. In a large cast iron or other high sided skillet, heat a generous inch of vegetable oil to frying heat. Test with a potato if needed for even bubbling. Add the potatoes and fry 1 minute, then add artichokes and fry all until deep golden. Remove and drain on paper towels or cooling racks.
In original skillet, heat 2 T olive oil with garlic, cooking at low heat until flavor is infused, about 3 minutes. Add fried artichokes and potatoes, salt, pepper, and parsley. Toss and serve. * Original recipe calls to add fresh arugula to potato mixture if you like.
Inspired by Wild Ginger in Cambria, CA, these wontons are tasty, filling finger food; the slaw helps to cut the fat and is a nice fall accompaniment. They’re also a really convenient way to use up any leftover wonton skins and leftover salmon.
For 12-16 wontons
Square wonton skins
1/3 lb salmon, cooked (grilled, broiled, whatever)
1/4 C cream cheese (I prefer Gina Marie from Sierra Nevada Cheese Co)
1-2 tsp brown rice vinegar
1/8 tsp five spice powder
lots of safflower/sunflower/other high eat oil for frying
Shred the salmon and mix with room temperature cream cheese. Add rice vinegar, five spice powder, and a pinch of salt to taste. Set aside for up to 2 hours or refrigerate up to 2 days ahead. Use 1T per wonton wrapper and moisten wrapper with spray bottle. Fold diagonally and seal, then bring end points together and seal. Fry at medium high heat, testing a piece of wonton skin first, until evenly golden.
Spicy Persimmon Cabbage Slaw
1/2 head cabbage, chopped somewhat finely
1 persimmon, sliced thinly
2 tsp gochujang or other chili paste such as harissa
juice of 1 lime
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Whisk gochujang, lime juice, cumin and salt; toss cabbage and persimmon in mixture and let set 10 minutes before serving, or up to 1 hour.