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BEER-BATTERED VEGETABLES

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BEER-BATTERED VEGETABLES

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Ingredients

Melange
4 slices lemon very thinly cut and seeded
3 basil leaves
1 carrot
carrot greens
2 ounces Chicken Breast cut into thin strips
corn starch
frying oil 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 extra virgin olive oil
Batter
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Sugar
garlic powder to taste
2/3 cup cold beer as needed
  • Medium

Ingredients

  • Melange

  • Batter

Directions

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You have probably heard the locution of having Champagne taste on a beer budget. But what about a beer that arrogantly touts its being ‘The Champagne of Beers’? Where does the madness end?

Now, while said beer would hardly even be a second cousin to Veuve Clicquot, it does have its place, and today, that place is next to a big cutting board covered in beer-battered goodness, mostly from the garden.

What is it about fried food that makes it so perfect with beer? What, pray tell, makes our sudsy beverage such a wonderful accoutrement to a fried Captain Scallywag Platter o’ seafood or other crispy critters?

The answer, my friends, lies in a recent salad article, in which I mentioned Sparkling Water, with its brilliant and sharp perlage, which cuts through the fat of the fried mozzarella and the oil in the dressing.

Similarly, not only does the bubbly beer cut through fried food’s fat, the flavor also stands up to the assertive flavor profiles afforded the finished product through 375 degree oil sizzling away pounds of food night after night; of course, this is assuming that the food in question is the product of a restaurant. In your own home, the oil would not be so superfluously recycled.

So, we have the bubbles which cut through the fat, or so the preconception goes. Now we have to figure out what we are going to fry. For this adventure, I trudged through the backyard, gathering carrots, basil leaves, squash, peppers, but no chicken.

I had to pull that out of the ice box, since I am pretty sure that the community would frown on me putting a chicken coop out back.

Obviously, this meal can be made completely vegetarian, but the chicken adds a nice taste contrast to the fresh vegetables.

Remembering that I had lemons, I sliced some very thinly and fried them up, as you will see in the recipe below.

With a platter of this size, your mouth will tire of the batter, even with the various particulates. The fried lemon slices, pungent as they are, reawaken your mouth, acting as an intermezzo, cleansing the palate and allowing you to once again taste the various goods at hand.

There is something so wonderful about this tempura-style of frying vegetables and herbs. Of course, traditional tempura would not have beer and would be served with a dipping sauce. In our case, just consider your ice cold brew to be your sauce. If you would like to add a salsa, ponzu, Srirachi dip, or some other side, no one is stopping you.

And please, I beg of you, don’t make the batter too thick. Note in the picture how you can see some of the vegetables showing through. I’ll admit that even in my picture the batter is a bit too thick, but c’est la guerre. Too often, I see cooks make their batter so thick that the end result is a fritter with little nuggets of stuff inside.

So, having cut, battered and fried your wares, you are now ready to open your Champagne of Beers, and get down to some serious noshing on your ‘Caviar of Fried Foods’, savoring the flavors that can come out of inexpensive ingredients if handled correctly.

Melange

  1. I know you’re tired of hearing about mise en place, but do it. Get   everything together before you start cooking the batch
  2. The only exception to this would be to test-fry one piece of squash, since it cooks quickly and you can test the flavor and consistency of your batter
  3. Once you are happy with the batter, start with the lemons, since they are bombproof
  4. Dust the lemon slices in the cornstarch and fry until crispy. There is a very fine line between ‘dark’ lemon flesh and very bitter lemon flesh, so watch carefully.
  5. When you put the lemon slices on a paper towel to dry, and while they are still hot, sprinkle with sugar and set aside
  6. With everything else except the basil leaves and carrot tops, dredge in the cornstarch, dip in the batter, and fry until lightly cooked
  7. Set aside on paper towels until everything is complete
  8. For the basil leaves, just carefully swing one side of the leaf through your beery tempura and fry for 30 seconds, or until batter is cooked
  9. For the carrot greens, drop in the fryer and cook until crispy. Remove, salt and use for an edible garnish

Batter

  1. Combine your dry ingredients and add the egg
  2. When egg is thoroughly mixed in, add the beer until you have a runny tempura-consistency batter
  3. Set aside until ready to use

Paul Suplee

Paul G. Suplee CEC, PC III is a private chef, college professor, writer, photographer & blogger who breathes food.

Active in the professional food service industry since 1983, he has worked in a number of locations across the United States. Paul now teaches adult students near Ocean City, Maryland after an interesting four-year career as a high school teacher.

No disrespect to the food stylist world or that of the food writer, but what you see and read from him, love it or hate it, is what you will get at his table. No blowtorches, no crisco-ice cream and no molasses in place of natural glazing, either in photo or word.

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