For some reason I can't seem to avoid buying a package of enoki mushrooms every time I step into New York Mart. I'm not sure why. They're not particularly attractive or flavorful (If Toad had nightmares of Slender Man, he'd look like a giant enoki). Perhaps it's that I alway hope I'll come up with a way to make better use of them.
My general M.O. with enoki is to either stir-fry them, pickle them, or toss them raw into soups and salads, where they add a bit of texture, but not much else.
It was only the most recent time when I'd just cut the root end off and had a bowl of sliced onion sitting nearby that I realized how similar in shape, size, and texture sliced onions and enoki were. Then I thought to myself, if I fry onions to give them more texture, why not do the same with enoki?
So I combined the two, whipped up a quick batter, and fried them into Koosh-ball-shaped fitters, which I served with a Thai curry mayo. Freaking delicious.
There are a couple small tricks with the batter. First is to use a combo of corn starch and flour to give it lightness without breadiness or toughness. Second is to use vodka in place of water or another liquid. The volatile alcohol in the vodka rapidly evaporates as the fritter fries, simultaneously leavening it and making for a more tender, crisp finished product.
The mayo is a snap—just a mixture of mayo, jarred red curry paste, and lime juice. Of course, you could also just serve the fritters with a lime or lemon wedge.
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About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.