Courgette flowers in leftover sourdough batter
There are a few things I have made already with leftover sourdough starter (note here that I am consciously saying LEFTOVER, rather than discard!). I started with pancakes and scones, but knew that there is more in store. A couple of months ago I visited my friend Katja in New York and she gave me the book "Meyer's Bakery" by Claus Meyer (co-founder of NOMA-restaurant). Apart from the recipes and tips for bread and pastry, I was thrilled to discover it includes a chapter on using leftover starter. Especially one method has caught my attention: tempura batter made from leftover sourdough! Everything is so much more fun deep-fried!
Pairing the often neglected (and oftentimes discarded) leftovers with fresh and also upmarket ingredients is something I strive for. Cooking with leftovers does not have to be done begrudgingly but can be transformed into a creative and playful act. To try this type of tempura I decided I did not want to plunge any old vegetable into the sourdough batter, but sought out some courgette flowers, which are now in season. They are becoming more widely available. Maybe not in the fresh produce section of supermarkets, but some farmers markets have them and also Italian green grocers. Or grow your own!
It's actually a very quick and simple supper. All you need to do is thin the leftover sourdough starter with a little water so it has the consistency of thick cream. You can fry it as it is or dip it in breadcrumbs for additional crunch, which is a great way to use up any breadcrumbs you may have leftover from dry bread. This time I have used panko breadcrumbs which are a little crunchier and provide an interesting texture. They are a Japanese and Korean staple and widely available in Asian grocery stores. If you don't find them you may also use normal breadcrumbs.
Enjoy with a glass of white wine. Best to be had on a hot summer evening.
Sourdough tempura with courgette flowers
250 g leftover sourdough starter
250 g courgette flowers
200 g of breadcrumbs (ideally panko, or regular - optional)
sunflower oil for frying
Items to be prepared:
A cooking thermometre or a wooden toothpick to test the temperature of the oil
A plate lined with kitchen paper (for letting the excess oil from the tempura drip off)
A slotted spoon for removing the tempura from the pot
Remove the sourdough starter from the fridge about a couple of hours before you want to cook. That way it reaches room temperature and doesn't cool down the oil when you are ready to fry the tempura.
Wash the courgette flowers and remove the stem inside the flower. Gently pat dry with kitchen paper or a clean tea towel. If the sourdough starter is very thick, add a little water until it reaches the consistency of thick cream. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a deep pot to 180 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer you can test the temperature by putting a toothpick into the oil. If tiny bubbles emerge from the toothpick you are ready to fry.
Take each courgette flower and dip into the batter until fully submerged. Remove from the batter and let any excess drip off. If you want more crunch, dip them into breadcrumbs before putting into the deep-fryer. Gently lower the courgette flowers in the hot oil. Not more than two at a time. You don't want the pot to be overcrowded and the oil to cool down too much. Fry for 2-3 minutes until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and put on the plate lined with kitchen paper. Serve immediately sprinkled with sea salt.