wine-battered veggie tempura

Easy Wine Battered Veggie Tempura by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

Do you ever find half a bottle of white wine fading away in your fridge?

Ever make a simple wine batter with it?

I just made a pretty fantastic discovery. Doubts furrowed my brow when I first came across this technique, but the results were delicate and crispy and well worth sharing. The low-maintenance and few ingredients required for this recipe makes it a great preparation when you want something quick and easy and indulgent.

I was seduced by a basket of twisted and mildly flavored Padron peppers and vibrant, slender Japanese eggplants at the Saturday Market. I thought about making a stir fry, but at the last minute, tempura called…and that half bottle of wine answered.

 

Easy Wine Battered Veggie Tempura by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

wine battered veggie tempura

  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp organic flour (I used equal parts buckwheat and red fife)
  • 1 1/4 cups white wine
  • 3 medium Japanese eggplants, thinly sliced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch rounds
  • 10 whole Padron peppers
  • organic safflower oil (good for high temperatures)
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (more than you’d think!)

Slice eggplants and sprinkle with salt to leach out moisture, tenderize, and flavor the flesh. (I used about 1 to 1.5 tsp of salt.) Allow to sit in a colander while you make the batter.

Whisk wine and flour together until well combined. The batter should be smooth and thin, but not watery. Add a good amount of salt and pepper. I wish I had measured, but I just couldn’t. Start with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp pepper and then taste. Add another 1/4 tsp until the batter tastes appropriately seasoned. Keep in mind that you can always shake a little more salt over the fried veggies if needed later.

Preheat your oven to 275° and have a cookie sheet ready.

Heat oil in a heavy skillet at a depth of 2 inches over med-high heat. You want the oil to be hot enough so that a drop of batter sizzles and browns. If the oil is too hot, the drop of batter with quickly turn dark brown and start burning within seconds. If it isn’t hot enough, the eggplant will absorb too much oil and become soggy.

Dip several eggplant slices in batter, allow the excess to drip off, and then drop into oil. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Use a slotted spoon to flip each piece, frying until golden. Remove from the oil and drain on recycled paper towels. Skim out any beads of batter remaining in the oil between batches to avoid infusing your oil with a burnt flavor.

Move the fried slices from the paper towels to the warm oven for another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fry the peppers, remove, and drain.

Now make this deliciousness…

 ginger garlic honey dipping sauce

  • 1/4 cup raw local honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp organic tamari
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 3 to 4 garlic cloves, pressed (with one of these)
  • 1 tsp organic sesame seeds
  • small handful of fresh cilantro and basil leaves, chiffonade

Bring first 5 ingredients to a gentle boil in a small saucepan and stir until the honey dissolves. Simmer on low and reduced the liquid down for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the sesame seeds and herbs. Pour into small dishes for dipping. Eat!

 

Easy Wine Battered Veggie Tempura by Salt+Fat+Whiskey

 

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