Thursday, August 7, 2014

Beer Battered Zucchini, or.....

When I was growing up, orphaned zucchini often found their way onto our doorstep. They were often zucchini that were very large, the “oops this grew too much let's see what you can do with it” baseball bat-sized zucchini.
If you’re looking for something different to do with zucchini, try this: Fry thin slices in a beer batter. The batter will, of course, work for just about anything—green beans, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, okra; you get the idea.
I know fried food aren’t for every day but these crisp-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside “chips” are great to serve to friends along with a preferred cold beverage. My red-haired food co-pilot and I polished off a recent batch despite the promise that we would only eat a few.
They don’t need to be deep-fried. Less than 1” of canola oil will do the job. Use whatever sized pan you have; a larger pan can accommodate more and will get the job done faster but I used a small pot. If you have a small fryer you could fry these outside and keep the “fry odor” out of the house.

Beer Batter
This is adapted from a recipe by Ian Knauer. What might appear to be a small amount of batter will coat about 40 zucchini slices. If you’re having a crazy fry party, increase the recipe.

¼ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder (or other chili powder)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
One medium-sized zucchini or vegetables of your choosing

1. Place a pan onto the stove. Fill it with about 1” canola oil. Heat the pan over medium heat. Line a baking tray with paper towels and set it aside.
2. Place the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk together. Pour in the beer and stir until smooth. The resulting batter should be thin.
3. Slice the zucchini into 1/8” thick slices- a mandolin-style slicer makes this task easier- or, if not using zucchini, prepare the vegetables you have chosen and set them aside.
4. Test the temperature of the oil by frying a small cube of bread in the oil or carefully dropping a drop of water off of your finger into the pot; if it sputters, the oil is ready. (The temperature should be around 375 degrees).
5. Dip the slices into the batter, allowing some of the batter run off and carefully place the slices into the oil. Fry for a minute or so and then turn the slices over, allowing them to cook on the other side. You may have to regulate the heat under the pot if the zucchini appears to be cooking too quickly. When the zucchini slices are evenly brown, remove the slices with a slotted spoon or “spider.” Lay the zucchini slices onto the paper towels to drain and salt them lightly. Repeat until all of the slices are fried. Serve along with a nice cold beverage. It would be a shame to waste the beer leftover from making the batter.

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