7.03.2012

Fried Zucchini. Need I say more?


{photo by Sara Remington}

I'm officially declaring this national zucchini month on the blog, because, well, I love zucchini and there are so many darn good ways to eat it. This is my all. time. favorite. Don't quote me on that because I might say that again when I post another recipe next week. But for today, this is it. The best. It's lighter than it sounds, because I make my batter with wheat beer which keeps the batter thin and crackly, and makes it especially apropos for serving with your micro brew of choice. 

Tomorrow eve, Andras, Greta and I fly to Hungary {during the fireworks, what??} where the fields his parents farm are full of insanely huge szookeeni {note: that's the phonetic spelling, not proper Hungarian spelling} that his mom turns into restorative brothy soups. While we're slurping them and settling into our world over there, I hope you'll be frying up a batch of these babies while the sparks fly overhead. Happy Fourth of July!  

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Fried Zucchini

Serves 6 to 8

{light and crisp} In the heart of the summer when markets are practically giving zucchini away, buy a bunch and transform them into summer fries that could turn the heads of even the strictest potato devotees. These zucchini get their light and crispy skin from a beer batter. Use a beer you’d enjoy drinking. Eat them fresh and hot from the fryer dipped in harissa-spiked Spicy Mayo.

Vegetable oil, for frying
2 medium-large firm zucchini/courgette, scrubbed and cut into 2-in-/5 cm-long sticks
1 large egg, beaten
½ cup/120 ml cold full-flavored wheat beer
¾ cup/90 g all-purpose/plain flour
Sea salt
Spicy Mayo

Before you begin, have everything you’ll need handy so you can concentrate when you’re working with hot oil on the stove. Set up a wire rack on a baking sheet/tray lined with paper towels/absorbent paper.

In a large, deep frying pan, heat 1 in/2.5 cm vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F/180°C/gas 4 on a deep-fat thermometer. Decrease the heat to medium-low to keep the oil temperature steady.

Whisk together the egg and beer in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in the flour to make a thin batter.

Check the oil temperature again. It should read just under 350°F/180°C/gas 4 and will drop slightly, to about 325°F/165°C/gas 3 as you add the zucchini/courgette pieces. This is the perfect temperature for frying.

Dip vegetable pieces in the batter a few at a time to coat and let the excess drip off before carefully lowering them into the hot oil. Fry until the batter puffs and is crisp and golden, about 2 minutes. Turn over with a slotted spoon and continue cooking 1 minute more. Be sure to cover the pan with a splatter guard to protect yourself as the zucchini/courgette pops and sizzles enthusiastically {it’s full of water}. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on the rack. Sprinkle with salt while it’s still warm. Continue until all the squash is fried.

Serve hot and fresh with Spicy Mayo or all on their own in a basket lined with paper towels/absorbent paper.

P.S. This batter keeps well overnight in the fridge. Use any leftovers to fry okra or onions rings.

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Spicy Mayo

Makes about 1/2 cup/120 ml

{from any country}Creamy mayonnaise mixed with Greek yogurt is the perfect, luscious base to tame the feisty heat of a hot red pepper paste. Stir in North African harissa, Hungarian hot red pepper paste, Southeast Asian sambal oelek, or Sriracha sauce to add a fiery streak to your favorite snack or supper.

1/4 cup/60 ml Greek yogurt
1/4 cup/60 ml olive-oil mayonnaise or regular mayonnaise
2 to 3 tbsp hot pepper sauce or paste
Pinch of fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Mix together the yogurt, mayonnaise, and enough hot pepper paste to make you sweat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve on everything your heart desires, especially Baguette BLTs with Spicy Moroccan Mayo. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

2 comments:

With Style and Grace said...

This is a great way to get in veggies - when in doubt, just fry 'em!

Unknown said...

oh, this sounds heavenly! i love the idea of zucchini month and can't wait to see what else you cook up!

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New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.