The French Fry Alternative

My salt tooth, though legendary, has been tamed in recent months.  I still get the occasional craving for glistening, hot French fries showered in salt and if I’m at an exceptionally good restaurant, like Balthazar, I’ll dig in. http://www.balthazarny.com/menus/brunch.pdf .

Sometimes when a salt craving hits, I’ll channel it into something relatively tame like rice crackers with olive tapenade (recipe to be posted at a later date), or those amazing Rice Works creations. Made of brown rice, the Sea Salt is the closest thing I’ve ever gotten to Fritos while maintaining my equilibrium and the Sweet Chili are a dead ringer for Doritos http://www.riceworkssnacks.com/flavors_USA.html .
During squash blossom season, however, I shelve the above options, unearth my large cast iron skillet and have a ball.  There’s nothing quite like a fried squash blossom.  It’s flavor is delicate but distinctive. The nutritional content remains a mystery to me but I’m guessing their orange color has to mean there’s some significant beta carotene involved…and maybe a little fiber. I’ve never had the patience to stuff them so I simply dunk the squash blossoms in gluten-free batter and lay each one down in a sizzling bath of hot grapeseed oil (best for frying because of its high smoking point).  In no time they’re crisp and ready to eat…but not before the requisite shower of salt.  Hey, I have a salt tooth….what did you expect?
Fried Squash Blossoms
12 squash blossoms
Grapeseed or light olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 cup gluten-free flour (rice, tapioca, chick pea, etc.)
1/2 tsp. garlic or onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 can seltzer
Heat oil on medium heat in skillet. In medium mixing bowl blend dry ingredients well. Add seltzer a little at a time, whisking thoroughly with wire whisk until flour turns to a pancake batter-like consistency…perhaps a little thinner. (Squash blossoms are very delicate and won’t tolerate a heavy batter).  Dip blossoms in batter one at a time and coat thoroughly before placing in pan (oil should be heated enough that they sizzle when placed in the pan). Fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until crisp. Set cooked blossoms aside on a plate or keep warm in a toaster oven until ready to serve.
Bon Appetit!
I think I channeled Scavullo on this shoot.  They were so gorgeoous I couldn’t stop clicking.
And does it need to be said?  They’re WAY better than French fries ♥