Thursday, September 23

Nigel Slater Recipes for Tempura and Spinach Pastries | Food

I He made a light batter with flour, egg whites, and ice water, and I used it to fry asparagus and squid until crisp. Each bite crunched like leaves on our plates and we dipped them, almost too hot to eat, in a mayonnaise that we had turned green with finely chopped herbs and wasabi.

It wasn’t dinner, not even lunch; this was just cooking for fun, something he hadn’t done in months. Two of us, sitting an arm’s length from the stove, tossing battered vegetables into the hot oil with chopsticks. The coating could hardly be called “batter”, so thin and light it was, yet it contained our catch of spring greens and crispy fish.

Cooking for fun was also extended to a bit of baking: puff pastry grinders that we had spread with a green paste of chopped spinach and miso paste. Eaten within minutes of coming out of the oven, these were pretty addictive little cakes and I wish we had made more.

There was no real reason to bake, other than to spend the afternoon doing what I love: hands in the flour, music on, a kitchen full of the smell of baking.

Vegetable and seafood tempura

I think it is better to cook tempura for no more than two. While it’s fun to scoop a few crispy packets of squid and asparagus out of the bubbling oil, a larger batch is unlikely to make it to the table crisp and hot. The logistics are not in the chef’s favor. A kitchen thermometer is essential here, unless you are an experienced fryer or have an electric version. None of which have a home in my kitchen. 2 servings

For the mass:
common flour 90g
Cornmeal 20g
frozen water 175ml
egg white 1

carrots 2 medium
asparagus 250g
radish or mouli 250g
squid 250g, clean and prepared

For the mayonnaise:
parsley 10g
capers 2 teaspoons
pickles 20g
Mayonnaise 6 tablespoons
wasabi paste ½ – 1 teaspoon

Make the dough: put the flour and cornstarch in a medium bowl, add the ice water and beat lightly. No need to remove any lumps. Cover and steep for an hour.

Make the mayonnaise: remove the parsley leaves, chop them finely and then add them to a bowl with the capers. Finely chop the cornichons, then mix them with the parsley along with the mayonnaise and wasabi paste. Set aside.

Scrub and then finely chop the carrots. Each slice should be thinner than a £ 1 coin. Now do the same for the radishes. If you are using the larger mouli, cut it finely into large coins.

Trim the asparagus, removing the tough pieces at the end of the stalks, then cut them into short pieces.

When the dough has settled, beat the egg white until thick and frothy, stopping before it is stiff enough to form peaks, and fold into the dough. Dry the squid on kitchen paper.

Heat oil in deep skillet; It should be deep enough for the oil to bubble up once the vegetables are added. The heat should be 180 ° C.

Add the vegetables and squid, a few at a time, to the batter and then lower them into the hot oil. Let everything just fry until tender; the dough should barely color.

Remove from the hot oil, drain briefly and serve with the wasabi mayonnaise.

Miso and spinach cakes

'Quite addictive': miso and spinach pastries.
‘Quite addictive’: miso and spinach pastries. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin / The Observer

The process of rolling the puff pastry spread with a salty dough was, of course, inspired by Danish pastry. Originally made with butter, sugar and raisins, I have previously adapted the filling to one of green olive paste and feta cheese and now with a mixture of cooked spinach, chives and miso. Most of these were eaten hot, straight off the baking sheet with beer bottles from the fridge, though some were squeezed into a lunch box the next day, hidden among the cream cheese and watercress sandwiches. 12 ago

Spinach 250g
Spring onions 6, slim
white miso paste 4 tablespoons
puff pastry 300g
egg hit by brushing

Wash the spinach and discard the thicker stalks. Without shaking to dry, place the leaves in a large skillet over high heat and cover tightly with a lid. Let the leaves cook for a couple of minutes in their own steam, then flip them over with kitchen tongs, recap, and let them cook for a minute or so, until the leaves are soft. Drain in the colander, then squeeze to dry. Coarsely chop the leaves, then place them in a mixing bowl.

Finely chop the chives and mix them with the spinach. Add the miso paste, a little salt and a pinch of black pepper. Set the oven to 200 ° C / gas mark 6.

On a lightly floured board, roll the dough into a 32cm x 22cm rectangle. Turn the dough so the short edge is facing you. Spread the miso and spinach mixture over the dough leaving a thin edge of bare dough around the edges.

Brush the edges of the dough with beaten egg. With the short side facing you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Brush the outside of the roll with beaten egg. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the dough roll into 12 equal slices, then place them on the parchment, leaving room for them to puff up a bit while baking.

Bake the cakes for 25 minutes, until golden brown and slightly risen. Remove them from the baking sheet and serve hot.

Follow Nigel on Twitter @NigelSlater

The Guardian and Observer aim to publish sustainable fish recipes rated sustainable by the Marine Conservation Society Good fish guide

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