Beignets de Légumes

Vegetable Fritters

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • For

    6

    people

Appears in

The Cuisine of the Sun

By Mireille Johnston

Published 1990

  • About

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.

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup beer
  • 1 cup flour, unbleached
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3 small unpeeled zucchini, sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 1 small narrow eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch strips
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into strips
  • 12 firm mushrooms
  • ½ head cauliflower, broken into florets and cooked
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 zucchini flowers (if available) peanut oil for deep-frying
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup chopped parsley Coulis

Method

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 (½ teaspoon) and pepper and set aside, covered, for 1 hour in a warm place.

* Mushrooms can be blanched for 4 minutes in ½ cup of dry white wine and the juice of half a lemon instead of water. But if they are very fresh, do not blanch them at all.

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.

Preheat the oven to 300°. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry, and fold them gently into the batter. Add the parsley and marinated vegetables.

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.) Fry for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the fritters are golden brown. Drain them on layers of paper towels placed on a cookie sheet and cover them with another layer of towels.

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.