Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Food - Battered Baby Zucchini and Tomato Salad

I really enjoy cooking, and though I promised a while ago to share more recipes on my blog, I've been very slack in doing so!
Some days its hard to think of what I'm going to make for dinner. With three kids in the house, anything that's not chicken nuggets, sausages, bacon or chips tends to get complained about. So most nights I'm making the boring old usual like spag bol. But sometimes I just like to make something a bit different and put up with the complaining!
Being Summer here in Australia right now, I wanted something light like a salad, but knew it would have to have something filling in it to satisfy my hubby. I took an inventory of what was in my fridge and garden, and then came up with the following:

6 baby zucchini, or 2 large zucchini
4 medium sized tomatoes
1 cucumber
handful of basil leaves
2 rashers of bacon
2 spring onions
generous dash of olive oil
generous dash of red wine vinegar
pinch of salt
beer batter (or regular batter, whichever you prefer)
oil for frying

1) Cut zucchinis into long slices, about finger thickness. Dip in batter and flash fry (I used canola oil).
Drain on paper towel and let cool slightly.
2) Dice bacon, cook in pan until crispy. Add chopped spring onion and cook until onion has softened.
3) Using a vegetable peeler, cut cucumber into ribbons.
4) Chop up tomato and rip up basil, putting into a salad bowl with the cucumber ribbons. Its at this point that I salt the tomato and cucumber, before letting sit for a few minutes, and then adding the olive oil and red wine vinegar, before giving a quick mix.
5) Once the zucchini has sufficiently cooled, add to cucumber, tomato and basil in the bowl.
6) Add bacon and spring onions, before tossing all together (don't over mix or your battered zucchini might go soggy)
7) Serve right away as a main or delish side meal.

Post meal note:
While this dish was very yummy as it was, I realized when I was eating that it probably would have been better with crispy prosciutto instead of bacon (which I didn't have on hand, though I usually do!) and a soft cheese like bocconcini (uncured mozzarella) or chevre (soft goats cheese). So next time I make it, I'll be trying it with those two slight alterations.

Beer Batter:
2/3 cup of plain white flour
150ml chilled beer (I use light beer because that's what hubby keeps in the fridge, not sure if heavy or light makes a difference)
pinch of salt
tablespoon olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a bowel and use immediately. Apparently the batter isn't as good once the mixture loses that initial chill.

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