These Beer Battered Mushrooms with Herbed Ranch Dip are crispy on the outside, and insanely juicy on the inside…they’re in my top ten appetizers of all time!
My husband and I have always lived near water, along one coast or the other. And, at least along the East coast, summer means multiple visits to eating establishments that dot the shoreline, with words like Cap’n, Barnacle, Shanty, Shack or Hut somewhere in their name. When we were first married we used to go to Cap’n Franks.
The Cap’n served up all the regular stuff like fried clams, shrimp, scallops and onion rings, but they also made amazing little baskets of fried mixed vegetables. We loved them. The small grease stained cardboard box came with onions, zucchini, eggplant, and these golden nuggets. The mushrooms were the prizes inside every order; just biting down through the crunchy batter into the chewy juicy mushroom still puts me in a seaside mood.
What you crave during the summer months is a very personal thing, and the taste carries along with it the happy relaxed memories of the season. Cap’n Frank’s closed years ago, and since then we’ve moved away. But luckily I’ve recently discovered that making the occasional fried food doesn’t have to be a huge project. Just a few inches of vegetable oil in a small or medium saucepan works fine. A thermometer helps, but even that’s not a necessity.
When you have your oil at the proper temperature, it doesn’t soak into your food, and anyway, come on, you can’t put a calorie count on pure bliss.
This batter is so simple ~ just flour, salt, and beer. And you can really taste the beer in every crunchy bite.
Any type of beer will work for this recipe, pale, dark, light, whatever. Each type of beer will give the batter a slightly different flavor, so use what you have on hand.
When vegetable oil is on sale, I grab a couple of bottles and stash them away so I can make these on a whim.
Tips for making Beer Battered Fried Mushrooms~
- Be sure you use smallish mushrooms, otherwise they won’t cook through in the oil. If you have large ones, halve them.
- Be sure your oil is hot enough before you start frying. If your oil is too cool your mushrooms will not crisp up.
- These reheat beautifully in the oven, just heat them through in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes, they’ll crisp up nicely.
- vegetable oil
- small button mushrooms, about 2 1/2 to 3 dozen
- 1 cup flour
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 cup loosely packed mixed herbs (I used parsley, thyme, dill and basil)
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 1/4 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- juice of 1 lime (or lemon)
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- In a saucepan, add the oil to a depth of 3-4 inches. Heat on medium heat until the temperature reaches about 340-350F. A thermometer is a big help here.
- Dust off the dirt from the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Trim the stems, leaving a little behind.
- Whisk together the flour, salt and pepper. Add enough beer to make a batter, not too thick, not too thin, about like pancake batter.
- Drop the mushrooms in the batter, making sure to cover all surfaces, and then let the excess drip off a bit before dropping them into the hot oil. Fry several at a time so as not to crowd the pan, which can lower the temperature of the oil.
- When the mushrooms are golden, about 2-3 minutes, remove them and drain on paper towels or newspaper.
- To make the dip, finely mince the herbs either with a knife or in a small processor.
- Process or mix with the yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, and lime juice.
- Season with salt and pepper, and make sure to taste the dressing and adjust as necessary. Refrigerate until needed. Feel free to make this ahead of time, the flavors will mingle and improve with a few hours in the fridge.