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POLPO

POLPO

by Russell Norman (Bloomsbury, 2012) 

I was hugely excited when this book arrived in the post (I'd greedily pre-ordered it) as I've long been a fan of the food at the restaurant of the title. But the actual book actually exceeded expectations, not only for its recipes but for its (so far as I know) novel design: the spine of the book is such that you can open the book completely flat which makes it very easy to read and cook from in the kitchen. I chose a recipe that I usually order only in restaurants rather than make at home, but I can't wait to try this version; zucchini shoestring fries are one of Italy's most dynamic and delicious culinary inventions.

 

Zucchini Shoestring Fries

For this recipe it is easy to convince yourself you are being virtuous. The zucchino is, after all, a vegetable.* It counts as one of your five-a-day, right? Well, I'm not so sure that the batter and deep-frying would convince a nutritionist but, good golly, these are tasty. Several of our customers come back to the restaurant specifically for this dish, happily admitting that they are addicted. Your habit starts here.

*Yes, I know it is actually a fruit, but let's not split hair's, eh?

For four to six people

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 large zucchini
  • 1 litre vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 500ml cold milk
  • 500g plain white flour, seasoned
  • A large pinch of fine salt

METHOD

  1. Using a comb attachment on a mandoline (if you have one), slice the zucchini lengthways to create fries 4mm across. Alternatively cut the zucchini by hand. The end raw result should be lengths of zucchini that look like shoestrings.
  2. Half fill a deep pan with the oil and bring it up to 190°C (or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil turns golden in less than a minute).
  3. Carefully dredge the strings in the milk and shake around in the seasoned flour. Then place the fries in the boiling hot vegetable oil for 3 minutes, or until light brown. Drain the excess oil on kitchen paper and sprinkle with fine salt.