Little Fried Things

July 22, 2013

– Nothing warms the cockles like little fried things. -

I’m no snob when it comes to fried stuff; I like it all. The crispy bits at the bottom of a barrel of KFC. The browned edges of a pancake that’s been cooked in too much oil (Oops, how did that happen?). A chunk of golden bread on the end of a skewer fresh from the bubbling fondue pot. The fact that I’ve misspelled “fried” as “friend” a dozen times while writing this post is a telling slip-up. There isn’t one molecule in my body that knows how to say no to that glorious, oily crunch.

The garden is a perfect place to find things to fry up in a cauldron of oil. The trick is to fry things that are equally light and frilly in a batter that barely exists. While I’m content to use my cheapest olive oil for frying, salt is an ingredient you shouldn’t skimp on here – something that tastes bright with a flaky texture completes the mouthful. (Maine Sea Salt is my recent obsession after swooning over it at ABC Kitchen.)

– Off on another garden hunt. -

– If I can bear to kick the bees out, squash blossoms are the prettiest thing in the garden to fry. -

– The batter should look like chalky (not gloppy) water. -

“LITTLE FRIED THINGS” – GARDEN FRITURE

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of cold water

1 tbsp of flour

1/2 cup of crushed ice at the ready

2 cups of olive oil (or more depending on the size of your pan) for frying

3-4 big handfuls of little things to fry (see below for ideas)

Flaky salt to taste

1. Mix the flour and the cold water together with your fingers in a shallow baking dish (like a pie dish). The batter should be no thicker than chalky water. As you work, you may need to add a bit of the crushed ice to keep the batter thin and cold.

2. If frying larger things like carrots, slice them extremely thin with a mandoline, about 1/32″, so they flash fry instead of “cook” in the oil.

3. Heat the oil in a small pan (preferably cast iron) on a medium high flame until the oil sizzles when you flick a drop of batter into it.

4. Working with tongs in very small batches, add a few pieces of your “things” into the sizzling oil and poke around until each bit is golden and crisp. Be careful because the oil will spatter, especially if too much of the watery batter is clinging to the piece you put it. Don’t crowd the pan or the oil will cool down too much during the process. Remove one piece at a time and place gently onto a few layers of paper towel. Add a few chips of ice to your batter if it gets to thick.

5. Once all your bits are fried up, transfer them to a pretty platter and sprinkle with flaky salt.

– Herbs deserve respect. Make them the star of the show. -

Some ideas of little things to fry:

  • Parsley stems
  • Sage leaves
  • Carrots or beets sliced thinly
  • Squash blossoms
  • Elderflower blossom stems
  • Shiso leaf
  • Basil leaf
  • Spinach leaf
  • Fresh chickpeas in the shell
  • Baby chard leaf
  • Thinly slivered onion
  • Mushroom sliced thinly
  • Borage blossoms
  • Thyme flowers
  • Kale leaf
  • Thai basil
  • Beet greens

– Better than chips? Maybe. -

– Little fried things and a glass of yummy vino. A perfect summer lunch. -

Take your boots off before you come in here!

 

 

 

 

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary Lum

You had me at KFC :-) but those fried little things all look good

Reply

Jennifer Solow

They complete me. ;-)

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john beach

While beautiful and mouth-watering–as is Ms. Solow’s usual way– this post is obviously a canard. Absolute falderal. Jennifer Solow does not fry ANYTHING.
You, madam (or sir), are an imposter.
Having said that, I’m glad you posted this, whoever you are. That s**t looks great!

Reply

kellie@foodtoglow

LOL with the ‘fried’ and ‘friend’! Great little nibbley morsels idea. I am a Maldon salt gal myself, although a friend brought me back some purple salt from Iceland that is amazingly gorgeous and intensely smokey too.

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Jennifer Solow

Isn’t salt the best?! Such a simple thing but so many different variations (even without going to the flavored or smoked salts). I never have less than 4 types in my cupboard. Always Kosher Salt for cleaning and basic salt use. But my favorite of all time is Læsø salt. I haven’t been to Denmark in a while so I’m all out. I have no idea where else to buy it but there.

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Stewart Putney

Beautiful….now I’m hungry at 11…ugh…

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Jennifer Solow

11 is a perfect time to be hungry, Putneé!

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Grumpy Hiker

While in Italy we had free reign over the garden, and the excess squash blossoms. Filled with a fresh pecorino cheese and an anchovy… you can’t go wrong!

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Jennifer Solow

Sounds like my kind of trip to Italy!!

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Juliann

I often misspell fried and friend, too. I guess it’s more a Freudian slip than I realized. ;)

Reply

Jennifer Solow

Friendian slip indeed!

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nan solow

Save some of those little fried things for me. Yum! I want to sit down in front of a whole big plate. Now. (It’s 7 AM.)

Reply

Emma Tennant

Delicious, I can’t wait to try.

Reply

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