January 7, 2009

All the Pretty Capers

Can you believe it is “National Tempura Day” today? I know, I know...I can't believe it's that time of year again.

Did you tempura some stuff in honor of this High Holy Day??

I did, because I’m ALL ABOUT the national food days! I can’t wait for “National Creamed Corn Day”!

At first I thought I’d do liver. Tempura venison liver. But as soon as I thought about it, I got kinda sick to my stomach. I listen to and trust my supremely tuned gut. No tempura liver for you and me!

But I did read last night (or maybe the night before…it all is beginning to seem like one big coma when I read in bed – it could have been a novel by Cormac McCarthy for all I can remember) in the latest issue of Gourmet about deep fried….capers. (btw…I’m really liking the evolving style of Gourmet…for a while there it was getting just a bit too serious and pretentious and who the hell can find those villages in Estonia?)

I thought to self, “Self – deep fried capers sounds like a pretty damn spectacular idea!” Then I passed out.

But when I saw that today was such a special day, I thought, “Self – you could TEMPURA those suckers!” Yes, I had almost a full jar of those extraordinary Spanish capers – the ones that are HUGE….not those wussy little ones you drop in tuna salad from time to time.

What do these look like to you?

That's what I thought!

With a little research, I found numerous recipes for tempura, but for this experiment I stuck to the basics – egg, flour, cold water. There are many variations. Since I’m not so handy with the hot oil, I wanted to keep the recipe simple whilst I concentrate on not starting my hair on fire. One thing I gleaned from my tempura research is that it is critical not to over mix the batter and to have your oil nice and hot (whatever that means…I hate thermometers).

Here’s the very basic recipe. If you feel more confident than I in the smoking oil department, check out the many, many recipes for tempura all over the place. One flavored with wasabi sounded promising.

Basic Tempura
1 egg
1 cup ice water
1 cup all purpose flour****
1. Place capers into bowl of cold water and let sit for 1/2 hour. Drain, rinse, and then repeat for another 1/2 hour. Drain, and pat very dry.
2. Beat an egg in a bowl.
3. Add ice water to bowl…be sure it is very cold!
4. Dump the flour all at once into the bowl and stir with chopstick – do not over mix – batter should be lumpy and barely moist. Any further and just make yourself a pancake and call it a day.
5. Heat oil (I used peanut) in deep skillet until sizzling when you drop some water in there (no spitting, please). Dip caper berries into batter and fry until golden. Drain on paper towels.

****many of the recipes I found preferred rice flour to all-purpose flour.

“Self – that WAS a pretty spectacular idea!”


Heather said...

I still think the tempura venison liver sounds pretty amazing. But I'll take the tempura tadpoles.

Mary said...

You really make me laugh. Say, if you need help for creamed corn day just give a whistle.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Those look yummy! :)

Emily said...

Mmm, I love tempura.

I disagree with Heather.

I hope you're right about Gourmet. They lost me for awhile. I actually got through the latest issue though.

Lisa said...

Mmmmnn. I don't think I've ever come across these big capers. Where do you get them? I only can find the tiny ones without stems.

Oh, thank you so much for stopping by my daughters blog. She is so excited to have comments.

Peter M said...

I had big, honkin' capers like this in New York and I love them. Must try fried capers, mama'san.

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