here’s to exceptions

We skipped the Fourth of July fireworks this year. And the parades. And the community potluck. Instead, we stayed home, seared a rib eye on the grill, tossed up a fresh Cesar salad, cranked some Rachmaninov, and watched a perfect banana moon rise through the trees. If I had it my way, this is how we’d spend every Fourth of July. I’m just not a crowd person. Except for the Minnesota State Fair. I bend the rules for that. It’s in my blood. (48 days and counting).

The flowers have finally started blooming, which made for a very nice, very quiet firework display on our deck. The garlic scapes put on quite a show as well. They went all out, slathering themselves in a beer batter and then hoping into a pan of hot oil for the grand finale. And my, oh, my. They truly outdid themselves. But first, I need to tell you that I really don’t get into deep frying. I have a small kitchen, a finicky gas stove, and a lack of good ventilation. None of which is conducive for deep frying. Still, I lust after buttermilk fried chicken recipes and dream of all the summer tempura possibilities. Occasionally, on cold winter mornings especially, I’ll cave and turn out a batch of steamy honey donuts, but other than that, I don’t fry.
Until now. Now, I might have another exception on my hands. I’m full of them lately, aren’t I? You’ll be glad though – I promise. Light and crunchy on the outside, warm and creamy on the inside with just a tease of garlic flavor. I’ve been on a garlic scape cooking craze lately, and making something festive for our Fourth of July meal felt like the right thing to do. I pilfered my stash of “maybe, someday, after I’ve built myself an outdoor kitchen, I might actually fry something recipes” and pick and chose from them to come up with a good old-fashioned beer batter. I also mixed up a quick tamari dunking sauce which was a perfect match for these golden beauties.
So go on! Get yourself some scapes at the Saturday market. And then shed any frying fears you might harbor and give these a try. They are so very worth it.
p.s. Buy some extra scapes while you’re at it. Pickled Dilly Scapes are up next!
Beer Battered Garlic Scapes
1/2 pound fresh garlic scapes
spoonful rice flour
salt and pepper

1/2 cup rice flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 small egg, beaten (or half of a large egg)
few dashes of Tabasco
up to 1/2 cup flat beer
oil for deep frying (Be sure to use something with a high smoking point. I used a combination of canola and peanut oil)

Trim the tops of the scapes just below the bulge (save the tops for soup stock if you wish). Give scapes a rinse under water and pat off most of the moisture with a towel. Toss them in a bowl with a spoonful of rice flour. Season generously with salt and pepper.
In a large, shallow dish, mix together the flour and cornstarch. Whisk in the beaten egg, tabasco and enough beer to make a thick batter.
Pour enough oil to reach an inch or two of depth into a heavy, deep sided pot, suitable for frying. Attach a thermometer and heat the oil to 375º F. Adjust the heat as you go to keep the oil as close to 375º F as possible, and be wary of hot oil and spatters. Dip the lightly floured scapes into the batter and use you fingers, if necessary to help coat the scape. Depending on the size of your pan, you can probably fry 2-3 scapes at a time, but be sure not to overcrowd them. Lower the scapes in the hot oil. Cook for a minute or two until they are golden brown, flipping once. Remove to a paper towel line platter. Continue battering and frying the scapes in small batches. Serve warm.
Serve 2

Tamari Dipping Sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup tamari
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 scallion, finely chopped
few strips of julienned carrot

Mix vinegar, tamari, sugar, and sesame oil in a small jar and shake lightly or whisk until combined. Pour into serving bowl and sprinkle with scallion and carrot. Adjust flavors if necessary.

3 Responses to “here’s to exceptions”

  1. 1 Wendy K July 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    That sounds great (both the celebration of the Fourth of July and the fried scapes)! Makes me wish I had some left to try it with!

  2. 2 Gina July 8, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Your 4th sounds lovely, however, I do think you would have enjoyed margaritas and mole at the Adobo Grill followed by a lovely stroll in downtown Chicago. I know we would have certainly enjoyed your being with us. PS: We skipped the fireworks, too, and the restaurant and streets were wonderfully empty because everyone else was there.

  1. 1 garlic pusher « Garlic Pig Trackback on October 31, 2011 at 2:42 pm

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