These Portuguese peixinhos da horta (or fish of the garden if translated literally to English) are actually tempura green beans. The veggies are dipped in a mixture of flour and club soda and then deep-fried and served with garlic mayonnaise.
These crispy, crunchy, ethereally light and delicious green beans are a conversation-stopping appetizer or tapas. The secret to the ethereally airy coating is using extremely cold soda or sparkling water. Dunked in garlic mayo or tartar sauce, the beans will be gone as fast as you can make them, so pay attention in order to be sure you snatch a few for yourself.–Angie Zoobkoff
Peixinhos da Horta | Tempura Green Beans
- Quick Glance
- 40 M
- 40 M
- Serves 2 to 4
- 7 ounces green beans, rinsed, trimmed, and patted completely dry
- Mild vegetable oil, such as grapeseed, for frying
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 to 3/4 cup ice-cold soda water or sparkling water
- 1 small garlic clove, crushed
- 4 tablespoons store-bought or homemade mayonnaise or tartar sauce (optional)
- 1. Line a plate with paper towels and place it near the stove. In a deep pot set over medium-high heat, add enough oil to reach a depth of about 2 inches (5 cm). Heat the oil until it reaches 350°F (180°C) on a deep-fry thermometer. [Editor’s Note: If you don’t have a thermometer, use the bread test: Once the oil is shimmering, drop in a cube of day-old bread and if it browns in no less than 30 seconds, the oil is ready. If it burns in that time, turn the heat down.]
- 2. Make sure your beans are completely dry and your oil is hot before preparing the batter. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, salt, and 2/3 cup soda water. It’s fine if some lumps of flour remain. If necessary, add more water, a little at a time, until the batter reaches the consistency of heavy cream.
- 3. Working with 3 to 4 beans at a time, dunk them in the batter, ensuring they’re well coated, then carefully lower them into the hot oil. Cook until the batter is pale gold and crunchy, 30 to 90 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to lift out the beans and drain them on the lined plate. Repeat with the rest of the beans, being sure not to crowd the pot.
- 4. In a small bowl, stir the crushed garlic with the mayonnaise, if using.
- 5. Serve the deep-fried green beans with the garlic mayonnaise or, if desired, with tartar sauce, as is often done in Lisbon.