Category Archives: fried

Bubbly Fried Squash Blossoms

Bubbly Fried Squash Blossoms

Piled Bubbly Fried Squash Blossoms

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
Salt
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.

The platter is from the Mad Platters on Etsy.

Fried Baby Artichokes & Potatoes with Flank Steak

fried baby artichokes and fried potatoes

grilled flank steak

From A Platter of Figs – totally doable on a Tuesday night, shopping and all!
Recipe for Fried Baby Artichokes and Potatoes with Flank Steak
For Two

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.

Venetian Fritole Recipe (Italian Doughnuts – Fritule)

Venetian Fritole (Italian Doughnuts)

In 2006 I was living in the heart of Florence and attending culinary school. The best class I took was the regional Italian cuisine course with Marcella Ansaldo — we made a few typical dishes from pretty much every region in Italy throughout the semester. One of the recipes was for Fritole – yeast-based Italian doughnuts from Venice, traditionally eaten for Carnivale.

I posted about Fritole back in November of 2006–a few months after returning from Florence. I remade these delicious treats this morning; it is Easter Sunday and it made for a peaceful, tasty breakfast treat for the two of us. It’s a typical day in SF; the weather doesn’t know what it’s doing and it’s somewhere between heavy fog and rain, with a little bit of light poking through. We looked over our wet garden with some good coffee; fritole made the whole thing come together.

Italian Fritole inside

italian fritole with raisins

Note: You can prepare the dough the night before, leaving in a room-temp spot (not warm) overnight. Simply stir/punch down the dough in the morning, and let rise 30 more minutes before frying. It makes brunch a breeze!

Italian Fritole Recipe

1 1/2 C all purpose flour (200 grams) + 1 Tbsp
1/2 C brown sugar (60 grams; can use granulated too)
1 egg
1 packet yeast (8-10grams; fresh brewer’s yeast is great too)
1 C milk, divided (up to 200ml milk; any type)
1/4 C golden raisins (50 grams; can use other types of raisins too)
1/3 C dry sherry (or brandy, whiskey, flat champagne, etc)
1/2 tsp salt (generous three-finger pinch)
high-temp oil like peanut, safflower, or pine nut (most traditional) for frying
powdered sugar for dusting

Optional Ingredients (non-traditional):
1/2 tsp orange blossom water (add with milk) or
1/2 tsp cinnamon/nutmeg (add with flour) or
2 T chopped almonds (add with raisins; you might consider a few drops of almond extract w/ the milk too)

Combine the raisins with the sherry. You can substitute boiling water if needed. Microwave for 1 minute to warm combination and set aside to plump (5-15 minutes). Once plumped, drain the raisins and toss them with 1T flour until nicely dusted.

Warm 1/2 C of milk to about 110 degrees; add 1 tsp brown or regular sugar and stir. Add the yeast (mixture should be warm when adding). Set aside to bloom (at least 10 minutes).

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Whisk well. Use more flour if needed. Add the egg and dusted raisins, stirring gently but not thoroughly with a spoon. Add the bloomed milk mixture and stir until just combined. If the mixture is too dry (it should be sticky but combined, not runny), add more milk as needed, up to 1/2 C more. Cover the dough with saran wrap and let sit 1-2 hours in a warm spot*.

Prepare a large plate with two-three layers of paper towels (a draining rack is ok too, but the towels might remove more oil). Get some chopsticks or heat-resistant tongs ready. Put a light dusting of flour over the top of your batter to make preparation easier.

Heat oil in a wide pan with sturdy sides (like a high sided sauce pan) to medium high heat; the oil should be at least 1.5 inches deep. Once warmed, test a small dot of batter–it should rise to the top immediately and bubble around the batter, but not burn it in the course of a minute**. Using two large spoons, section just-smaller than an egg size scoops and gently place into hot oil. When deep golden brown, flip each doughnut over and cook; remove when evenly colored and cool on paper towels.

Serve with powdered sugar on top.

Makes 15 golf-ball sized fritole. 3 per person is sufficient.

*If the dough sits more than 2 hours, simply stir around to deflate and let rise 30 more minutes. This can be repeated twice if necessary.
**If the doughnuts seem to be cooking too quickly or getting too dark before you can flip them, lower the heat slightly and allow them to cook longer or else they will be gooey inside.

Salmon Cream Cheese Wontons & Spicy Persimmon Slaw

home made salmon cream cheese wontons

spicy persimmon cabbage salad

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
salt
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
salt

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.

Fried Chicken on Fresh Corn, English Peas, and Kale; Plum Ice Cream

 

 

Fried Chicken Nuggets on Kale and Fresh Corn

Fresh Plum Ice Cream

Yesterday we had some new friends over for dinner, and I planned the menu while starving after my morning yoga class. I resurrected the tomato soup (tomato soup recipe) I always make (but haven’t for about a year), took a hint from a restaurant we went to recently and constructed a fried-chicken breast nuggets dish on fresh corn, English peas, and kale. I already had the peas and corn from my farm shipment and wanted to make sure they didn’t go to waste.

Fried Chicken Breast Nuggets on Kale, Fresh Corn, and Fresh English Peas

3 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 bunches kale
4 ears corn
1/2 lb fresh English peas in pods
Sunflower, avocado, or peanut oil enough to fry in a large, high sided skillet, about 2 cups or more
2 T butter

For Chicken Coating:
1 C flour, set aside

For Chicken Batter:
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 egg whites (can use whole eggs if you prefer)
1/2 cup milk

Frying the chicken:
Cut the breasts into a few different sized chunks in order for the chicken to cook evenly by being fried. None are larger than 1.5 inches thick, 2 inches long, 2 inches wide.

Heat oil at least 1 inch deep in a large high sided skillet; do not fill the skillet more than half way. It should be about 375 degrees; if you don’t have a thermometer (I don’t), test it with a bit of batter.

Generously salt & pepper two sides of the chicken pieces, and coat in flour. Dip into the egg mixture/batter, then back in the flour, placing within a few minutes into the hot oil.

I fried the chicken in 3 batches in a 10 inch skillet to not over crowd.

Chicken will become golden and firm when poked, flip it only once and remove and place on a rack or paper towels to drain. If desired, sprinkle with sea/kosher salt at this point.

The vegetables:
Ahead of time, wash and cut your kale–remove the thick stem, cut into 1 inch pieces. Boil some water, add salt when boiling and blanch the kale for a few minutes until deep green and tender. Drain and set aside.

Wash the corn and cut it off the cob, remove the peas from their shells.

While the oil for the chicken is heating, heat the butter in a skillet. When hot, add the corn and some salt, and continue stirring or flipping until 1/3 is golden/gaining color. Add the fresh peas and cook a few more minutes as the chicken finishes its last batch of frying.

Assemble by placing the hot corn mixture on the plate or bowl, adding the kale and topping with the fried chicken.

Plum Ice Cream:

A friend and coworker gave me some delicious, overly ripe plums last Wednesday, so I made plum preserves of the immediately with very little sugar so they retained their color and tartness; I left them in as large of chunks as was possible and canned up two small jars. They came into play when I decided to make a delicious, custard-y vanilla ice cream and swirl them in.

Adapted from David Lebovitz

3/4 Cup milk
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
2 T brown sugar
pinch salt
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 plump, full size vanilla bean
1/3 cup plum preserves

Heat the milk, salt, and sugars in a saucepan over low heat until sugars combine and milk is beginning to look granulated/clear. While milk is warming, scrape the vanilla bean seeds out of the pod and add it to the milk, and add the pod itself too.

Whisk lightly the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually add warm milk to temper/warm the egg yolks. Once warmed, pour the egg yolks into the sauce pan with the milk and stir well as you do so to prevent coddling.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a spatula until custard is thick enough to coat the spatula. Strain the mixture into the cold heavy cream, wrinsing the vanilla bean pod and adding it back in again. Chill thoroughly and then follow your ice cream maker’s instructions, adding the preserves when the ice cream is fairly thickened, almost done.

Fresh Plum Preserves

Plum preserves recipe: Wash, then cut plums into halves or quarters if they are still very firm, place in a pot, cover with about 1/8th to 1/6th the volume in sugar, the juice of a lemon or lime or more for a great quantity, and bring to a boil; immediately reduce to a simmer for just a couple of minutes, turn off, and can.