Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fried Flowers

For years I’ve been a bit obsessed with the idea of edible flowers, with an emphasis on dandelions. I’ve loved them since I started yanking them out of the ground and flinging them at people as a child. There’s something admirable in their tenacity, their refusal to budge when the whole world is against them.

They’re the noblest of weeds, for sure.

Personally, I don’t really consider them a weed. They’re too attractive, too full of nutrients, too useful. Only someone obsessed with homogenizing their suburban lawn should ever call them a weed, and even then it would be a label borne of ignorance.

They are delicious. I finally found out for myself today.

An egg. A cup of milk. A cup of flour. That’s really all you need, aside from a pot and a half inch of olive oil on medium heat. I suppose you could use some salt and pepper or some kind of tempura broth if you felt like being fancy with your cooking, but this time I kept it bare bones. I picked the nicest flower heads I could find and gently shook off any tiny ants that were nestled inside, brought them in and rinsed them and then trimmed off the stalks. I fried them gently in batches of six to ten heads at a time, turning them over when they became golden brown.

The taste is very gentle, not bitter at all. It reminds me of the vegetable tempura from Sushi Tomo, actually. I think next time I make this recipe I’ll have to break out the tempura batter and panko crumbs I have stashed away in my cupboard.

I really hope I can convince someone else to eat these with me, because I don’t think I should scarf them all down myself. Still, it’s tempting.

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