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Spring onion fritters and crisp broad bean leaf tips with preserved-lemon mayonnaise


"Spring onions can be found year round but, as their name suggests, they're best in spring," says Danielle Alvarez. "The technique for these fritters was taught to me by a Persian chef, but the batter is a straight Japanese tempura. Combined with preserved-lemon mayonnaise, they're a lovely little canapé for a spring feast." Makes 16 fritters.

You'll need

8 bulbous spring onions (salad onions), stems trimmed to 3cm from top of bulb 12 broad bean leaf tips (see note) For deep-frying: vegetable oil To serve: lemon wedges   Preserved-lemon mayonnaise 2 egg yolks 1/3 preserved lemon, rinsed, flesh and pith discarded, rind coarsely chopped 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil To taste: lemon juice To serve: smoked paprika   Tempura batter 200 gm (1 1/3 cups) plain flour 60 gm cornflour 1 egg 500 ml (2 cups) chilled sparkling water

Method

  • 01
  • For preserved lemon mayonnaise, process egg yolks and preserved lemon in a blender then, with motor running, slowly drizzle in oil, adding a few drops of cold water midway through to loosen the mixture. Season to taste with lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. Refrigerate until required. Serve sprinkled with paprika.
  • 02
  • Halve spring onions lengthways and slice each half lengthways into strips. Combine in a colander with as much salt as you would use to season a salad and stand until onions wilt and begin to release some of their water (30-35 minutes).
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, for tempura batter, combine flours in a bowl. Whisk egg and 300ml sparkling water in a separate bowl, add to flours and whisk to just combine (be careful not to overmix; some lumps are okay), then add enough of the remaining sparkling water to reach the consistency of heavy cream (you may not need it all).
  • 04
  • Preheat oven to 120C. Heat oil in a large saucepan to 175C. Mix onions in a bowl with enough batter to coat. Drop a tablespoonful into oil to check it holds together (you may need to add more batter), then deep-fry tablespoonfuls in batches until golden (3-4 minutes). Drain on paper towels and keep warm in oven. Dip broad bean leaf tips in batter, shake off excess and deep-fry until golden (1-2 minutes). Serve fritters and broad bean leaf tips hot with preserved-lemon mayonnaise and lemon wedges.

Note Broad bean leaf tips are available from select farmers' markets; substitute large pea tendrils if they're unavailable.


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Drink Suggestion

It’s perfect apéritif food, so match this with something crisp and aromatic, such as a wine made from albariño grapes. My favourite is Zarate Rías Baixas from Galicia in Spain.

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