I hated vegetables as a kid. In fact, it was only recently, now that I’m nearly 30 years old, that I finally admitted to my parents what my secret strategies had been. I’d chew and chew until whatever offending vile veggie had been pulverized to the point that I could discreetly place the cud inside my cheek and excuse myself to the bathroom to flush the fowl pulp to the sewers. A dinner roll or baked potato also were excellent hiding places – eat out the center, place as many vegetables as possible into the cavity, pinch closed, sigh loudly, and declare “I’m full.” Unluckily for my sisters and me, the family dog wasn’t too keen on the veggies either – she was much more interested in our steak – so she failed as yet another method of dodging out on my daily dose of vitamins.
Time changes many things – but a delicate batter fried golden brown and a rich homemade mayonnaise spiked with the herbal-honeyed juice of a meyer lemon don’t hurt, either. I admit, I’m late to jump on the fried green bean bandwagon. It never really tripped my trigger. But then, I stumbled across this recipe, saw the meyer lemon, and figured it was about time I try this on for size. What can I say? I’m a sucker for aioli.
With this admission comes a huge mea culpa to my grandma. For years she sang the praises of french fries with mayonnaise, to which I wrinkled up my nose (yes, I’m getting real wrinkles there now) and declared it disgusting. Grandma, I’m sorry. You were so, so right. However, I must insist that it be real mayonnaise, not the store-bought brand. A food processor, an egg, vinegar and some oil and ooh baby, we’re in business. And when you throw meyer lemon zest and juice into the mix, those veggies aren’t looking so bad after all!
fried green beans with meyer lemon aioli
recipe: adapted from Loretta Keller of San Francisco’s Coco500
1 large egg yolk (Can use pasterized if you are sensitive about eating raw eggs. I’m not. Bring it, Rocky!)
1 Tbsp. champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 c. canola oil (maximum – you may not need this full amount)
2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
Salt, to taste
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 c. cold club soda
1 c. rice flour
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 lb. green beans, trimmed
In a small food processor, combine egg yolk, champagne vinegar, Dijon mustard, and garlic clove. Pulse until combined and garlic is finely chopped. With the food processor running, slowly stream in canola oil. Continue to pour very slowly until mixture has thickened and tripled to quadrupled in volume. Add Meyer lemon zest and juice. Process until fully combined. Season to taste with salt. Add cayenne and set aside. If making ahead, refrigerate and let come to room temperature for about 20 minutes prior to serving.
Fill a large stockpot or wok halfway with oil. Place on medium high heat until temperature reaches 350 degrees. Combine club soda and rice flour in a medium mixing bowl. Once flour is fully incorporated, add balsamic vinegar and mix well. Add green beans, about one handful at a time, and toss with hands or tongs until beans are fully coated. Using tongs, place about 8-10 green beans in hot oil. Fry about 4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack set over a baking sheet and season to taste. Repeat with remaining green beans.
Serve immediately with Meyer lemon aioli.
Sometimes, you want a little extra crunch. While I preferred the recipe in its original form above, b preferred the extra crispy version. To do this, after dipping the beans in the rice flour/club soda batter, dredge in panko and repeat as directed above. Crunch away!
Hope this has taught your kids a few new tricks on how to hide their veggies and has provided you with a new way to enjoy them!
All content and photographs © 2010 jb’s pour house