Fritter away!

Take your fry fest to a whole new level

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I love latkes and look forward to at least one meal during Chanukah that includes the iconic potato cakes--but one night of latkes just isn't cutting it this year. I want--no, I need--more! After all, it's been a rough year and, if you are like me, we really need to celebrate something and eating fried food is as good a reason to celebrate as anything. 

With latkes as a heavier fried food night, I am looking for something lighter to fry--and with a little more zing. Enter the fritter: light, crispy, and incredibly addicting, lightly-battered vegetables or fruit are versatile as a starter to a meal, a flashy side dish, or an exciting dessert.

Fritter batter is easy to make and can be done ahead of time. In fact, the fry-ables can be cut and prepped ahead of serving, and the only last-minute task is the actual frying. Once you master the simple fritter batter and technique, you can fry anything. Vegetables, thinly sliced fruit, and even fish or chicken can be dipped and frittered.

 

Fritter-ing Tips:

  • Whisk fritter batter ingredients in a bowl over a bowl of ice water. The cold temperature will inhibit gluten from forming. A delicate batter is not heavy with gluten.
  • Do NOT leave out the rice flour! Rice flour makes everything crispy and light!
  • Fritter batter can be whisked together and left to rest, over a bowl of ice water, in the fridge for up to one hour.
  • Be sure all the fry-ables are patted dry and ready to go once the oil is hot.
  • I use extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil to fry in. Extra virgin is a heart healthy oil and works perfectly for frying.
  • Don't overload the pan with too much food. A drop in oil temperature will result in greasy fritters. Take your time and only fry a few pieces at a time. Transfer the cooked fritters to a paper-towel lined pan or rack and keep warm in a low oven.

 

Tempura Green Beans

Perfect with a steak, burger, chicken, or just as a crispy appetizer, these seductive, slender green beans are a crowd pleaser and take fried food to a sophisticated level.

2 quarts of extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil (or a smaller amount for smaller pans)

10 ounces green beans

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup rice flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

Pinch of Cayenne pepper

¾ cup good quality ice cold beer (I use dark beer such as Guinness)

¾ cup ice cold sparkling water or club soda

Sea salt for garnish

  1. Preheat about 2 quarts of oil in a large and heavy-duty pan (be sure to account for the volume of oil rising once food is added, so use a large pan) to 360F.

2.      Fill a large bowl with ice water and place a smaller bowl over the cold mix.

3.      Whisk together flour, rice flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add beer and sparkling water and whisk until a thin batter is formed.

4.      Dip beans in batter and place in hot oil. Fry, turning if necessary, until golden brown (about 1-2 minutes). Transfer to lined sheet pan or rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

 

Tempura Dipping Sauce

½ cup good quality soy sauce

1 tablespoon miso paste

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons mirin

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 scallions, finely minced

Small splash of chili oil (optional)

  1. Whisk together soy, miso, rice vinegar, mirin, sesame oil, scallion, and chili oil if using.

 

Fritto Misto (Mixed Fry)

Do as the Italians do and prepare a gorgeous platter of mixed fried vegetables, all glistening and browned. A platter of Fritto Misto will excite your family. Perfect as an appetizer, side dish, or as "the dish." (hey, it's been a rough year, so go for it!)

10 ounces mixed vegetables (butternut squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, small mushrooms, thinly sliced onions, green beans, pitted olives, and zucchini) cut into ¼-inch thick slices.

2 quarts of extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil (or a smaller amount for smaller pans)

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup rice flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

¾ cup good quality ice cold beer

¾ cup ice cold sparkling water or club soda

  1. Preheat about 2 quarts of oil in a heavy-duty pan (be sure to account for the volume of oil rising once food is added, so use a large pan) to 360F.

2.      Fill a large bowl with ice water and place a smaller bowl over the cold mix.

3.      Whisk together flour, rice flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper. Add beer and sparkling water and whisk until a thin batter is formed.

4.      Dip vegetables in batter and place in hot oil. Fry, turning if necessary, until golden brown (about 1-2 minutes). Transfer to lined sheet pan or rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

 

Sun-Dried Tomato and Garlic Dip

This dip is very savory and delicious. Leftover dip (as if!) can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for one week.

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes

3 garlic cloves

¼ cup flat leaf parsley

2 anchovy filets

½ cup best-quality extra virgin olive oil

About 2-3 tablespoons of water

  1. Process sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, parsley, anchovies, and olive oil into a fine paste.

2.      Add a small amount of water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dip is the right consistency.

 

Apple Fritters

1-2 quarts extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup rice flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1½ cups ice cold sparkling water or club soda

3 large firm apples (I prefer Granny Smith) cut into julienne (long, thin planks)

Garnish: ¼ cup sugar mixed with ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat about 2 quarts of oil in a heavy-duty pan (be sure to account for the volume of oil rising once food is added, so use a large pan) to 360F.

2.      Fill a large bowl with ice water and place a smaller bowl over the cold mix.

3.      Whisk together flour, rice flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add sparkling water and whisk until a thin batter is formed.

4.      Dip several apple pieces in batter and mound in hot oil to create a small nest. Fry, turning if necessary, until golden brown (about 1-2 minutes). Transfer to lined sheet pan or rack and sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Check out Laura Frankel's latke recipe and latke chef tips at bit.ly/lauralatkes .

Laura Frankel is a noted kosher chef, a cookbook author, and Culinary Director for a media company. Currently, she serves as Director of Catering at Circle of Life catering at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El.    



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