Simple pleasures

The Fries is Right


If you dip something in batter, deep fry it and season it, whatever it is will be delicious. I once ate a whole mattress that way. This, of course, is nonsense. I have, however eaten enough soggy fried dishes to know that badly done, it can be one of the most disappointing experiences known to humankind. So it’s important to make sure you use clean oil, get it hot enough and serve immediately.

This is essentially courgette tempura but is often served in Italian restaurants. It definitely counts as one of your five a day, whereas potatoes don’t, so leave the guilt behind and enjoy them.

Cut two courgettes into 5cm batons and dip in a batter made from seasoned rice or potato flour and sparkling water. I use organic uk rapeseed oil for deep frying, but groundnut oil is also good. You can also get a deep fat fryer for about £25 and they’re great. If not, use a deep, heavy-based pan and don’t fill it more than half. The oil expands when hot and when you add the food it obviously increases in volume.

Fry in small batches at 190c. If you don’t have a thermometer, cook one on its own. The oil is hot enough if it starts bubbling fast immediately and the baton cooks and is golden in about 30 seconds. Drain on kitchen paper, Transfer to a big bowl, season to taste and serve hot. Don’t let them steam or they will become as limp as week old party balloon.

Go on, I believe you can fry.

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