These are the Niçois tempura. Always choose the smallest vegetables possible and serve them like hot bread in a basket lined with a bright napkin. I have selected the vegetables traditionally used for this dish. You can, of course, add anything you wish: asparagus tips, green beans, carrots, celery, snow peas, bell peppers.
Prepare the batter. With a wire whisk, beat the egg yolks, then very slowly add the oil, beer, and flour, beating constantly to prevent lumps. Season with salt (
* Mushrooms can be blanched for 4 minutes in
Blanch the zucchini, eggplant, fennel bulb, and mushrooms * for 3 minutes in salted boiling water and drain. Blanch the cauliflower florets for at least 5 minutes and drain. Dry them all and marinate in salt, pepper, thyme, and olive oil for 1 hour or until ready to cook. Remove the stems of the zucchini flowers, rinse and drain them carefully.
Heat the peanut oil in a large frying pan. Test the oil with a drop of batter—if it sizzles it is ready. Using tongs, pick the vegetables out of the batter, one at a time, shaking off excess batter. Dip the zucchini flowers in the batter one by one. Drop into the oil and fry about five pieces of vegetable at a time, turning them once gently with the tongs after 1 or 2 minutes. (Do not cook too many fritters at one time because the temperature will drop and the fritters will stick together. Each fritter should have room to puff and roll over easily.)
When all the fritters are made, place them on a large serving dish or in a basket lined with a folded napkin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve as soon as possible, as they will lose their crispness if they wait. Serve with a warm coulis sauce in a separate bowl.
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