Yes, Fried Pickles

fried picklesOh, sweet fatty goodness, yes. (Fry sauce, not batter, pictured.)

The point of this post is not to tell you all about how fabulous, I mean, fanfabulous deep-fried pickles are, all crispy and salty sour, but to share a long overdue update about last year’s pickling adventures. The pickles? They worked really, really well. Thanks, Endurer.

The deep fried pickles? Divine. Thanks, Endurer.

Crispy fried…(fill in the blank):
Courtesy, more than less, of David Leite’s The New Portuguese Table.

1 tbs kosher salt
1 lb asparagus (or PICKLES or beans or cauliflower or whatever)
3/4 c. plus 2 tbs flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
3/4 c. very cold seltzer water
1/2 tsp piri-piri sauce (or sriacha)
vegetable oil for deep-frying

fry sauce for dipping (mayo, ketchup, sriacha [or gochujang] mixed to your taste preferences.)

  1. Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large skillet.
  2. Stir together the flour and baking powder in a small, shallow dish, and season with a pinch of salt. Whisk in the seltzer and piri-piri [sriacha] sauce; don’t worry about any small lumps. The consistency should be like thin pancake batter; if the mixture is too thick, pour in more seltzer.
  3. When the oil registers 350 on a deep-fat or candy thermometer, dip 5 spears in the batter and turn to coat. Carefully slide them into the oil and fry until golden brown, 3-7 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the asparagus [or pickles or whatever] to paper towel to drain. Sprinkle withg salt while still sizzling, then place them on the rack in the oven to keep warm. [POD: Seriously, David? People, this is where you hover in the kitchen, wait for a few seconds, pick a tasty looking spear and gingerly but enthusiastically and toss it from hand to hand, hopping and blowing. Dip in sauce, chew with your mouth open, repeat.]
  4. NOTE: if using asparagus, first you’ll want to trim and par boil the asparagus for 2-3 minutes and then drop them into ice water to stop the cooking. Transfer them to paper towels to dry. Then you can heat the oil, prepare the batter, and move along as detailed above.


Herby Endings

parsley, rosemary, bay, thai chiliesWell, folks, POD 2009’s days are nearing the end.

That is, we’re approaching the shortest day of the year and the bits salvaged from the little blue deck are precious and few. So, let’s hear it for David Leite’s Eggs Simmered in Tomato Sauce. What a great excuse to snip what’s left of the parsley, Thai chilies, bay, and rosemary. Okay, so the bay and rosemary live a pampered indoor life these days, but still.

Eggs Simmered in Tomato Sauce, tomatada com ovos — adapted ever so slightly (POD’s minimal revisions in parentheses) from The New Portuguese Table, by David Leite.

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
2 large eggs
Fine seas salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 slices rustic bread, toasted (it helps immeasurably if you have a heavenly husband who bakes)
1 garlic clove, cut in half
Olive Oil

1) Warm the tomato sauce is a small nonstick skillet, covered, over medium-high heat, until it’s bubbly and (very) hot, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium, stir, and then make two wells in the sauce with the back of a spoon. Crack an egg into each well and simmer, covered, until the eggs are cooked, 5 to 8 minutes.
2) To serve, lightly rub the toast with the garlic, drizzle with a thin thread of oil, and place on plates. Scoop an egg and some tomato sauce on top of each slice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. (Stick the remaining sauce in the freezer for a lazy day.)

David Leite's eggs simmered in tomato sauceLeite’s Eggs Simmered in Tomato Sauce

Leite’s Tomatada (Tomato Sauce) — POD’s minimal revisions in parentheses

3 tbs olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into thin half-moons
2 sprigs (or more) fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Turkish bay leaf (or three)
3 sprigs rosemary (totally optional and probably entirely wrong, but who cares)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs very ripe tomatoes seeded and chopped, or one 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, chopped, juices reserved (it’s December, go for the San Marzano’s, please)
2 to 3 tbs double-concentrate tomato paste, to taste (2 tbs)
1 small fresh medium-hot red chili pepper, such as serrano, stemmed, seeded, and chopped — (or, 4 Thai chilies, chopped)
(honey, to taste — we found the sauce to be rather acidic and opted to do about two teaspoons worth of neutralizing)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1) Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onions, parsley, and bay leaf and cook until nicely golden, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

2) Turn the heat to medium-low, stir in the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato paste, and chili pepper, if using, and bring to a simmer. Cook, lid ajar, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down, about 30 minutes.

3) Toss out the parsley and bay leaf(ves and rosemary), and season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper (and honey). If you wish, you can scrape the sauce into a food processor and buzz until smooth (peshaw).  Store the sauce in the fridge in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid for up to 1 week; it can also be frozen for up to 2 months.