Today’s guest post is from the lovely Casey Barber of Good. Food. Stories. I love Casey because she’s whip-smart, cute as a button and just as passionate about food as I am. I wish she lived closer, but until we get to visit again, I’m stoked to feature here on Wasabimon! And I’ll be enjoying these tempura green beans while thinking of her.
For the most part, I don’t consider myself a trendy person. I love the classic shapes of LL Bean Boat & Tote bags, the modestly retro look of a granny cardigan, and the clean lines of Mission furniture. But I do like a well-designed buzz item or two (hello Liberty of London for Target) and I especially love to see the trickle-down effect of formerly outr√© trends. Who would have predicted that we’d be seeing Henry Rollins guest-judging on a show called RuPaul’s Drag Race, for which there are massive billboards throughout New York City? Gotta love progress.
In this spirit of trend democratization, I’m tickled pink to see that tempura-fried green beans, which have been a cult favorite on the menu at Manhattan bistro stalwart The Red Cat for, like, a decade, have somehow become the appetizer of choice at TGI Friday’s. No longer just a grazable secret for the gallery hoppers of Chelsea, now even my father-in-law can enjoy a handful of deep-fried veg with his pulled pork sandwich.
This recipe for green beans, modified from a Harold McGee adaptation of a Heston Blumenthal recipe (got that?), takes it one step further by making the dish a ten-minute throw-together snack. It calls for a cup of lager, like Yuengling or Dos Equis, to add flavor and‚ most crucially‚ bubbles to the batter, since the carbonation is what keeps things light and crispy. The beer is diluted by the cup of vodka you’re also throwing in there, but if you’re not comfortable adding it at all, just substitute plain seltzer.
- 1 pound frozen green beans or haricots verts (try to get these thinner beans, if your store carries them‚ they make delicious nests surrounded by crunchy coating when fried)
- 2 cups rice flour
- 1 cup gluten-free, lager-style beer
- 1 cup Smirnoff vodka
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
- Preheat your deep fryer or bring a deep pot filled with the oil to 375°F (190°C). While the oil is heating, create the tempura batter by whisking together the rice flour and spices.
- Once the oil is at the correct temperature, whisk the liquids into the dry ingredients in a steady stream. (Do this at the last minute to keep as much of the carbonation intact as possible.)
- Working in small batches, drop a handful of frozen green beans in the tempura batter and toss to coat, then gently lower them into the hot oil. Fry for 1-2 minutes or until light and puffy.
- Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with a bit more kosher salt, and serve immediately.