Fritters of sprouting broccoli with anchovy sauce

Serves 4

A nice way to snack on crisp, sprouting broccoli is to give it this tempura-like treatment. Serve it as a pre-dinner snack, a starter or as a side dish, but make sure you cut the broccoli and leaves down into bite-sized pieces before cooking.

200-250g tender sprouting broccoli, trimmed of any woody stems
Vegetable or corn oil for deep frying

For the batter

4-5tbsp self-raising flour
Enough cold lager to make a smooth batter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the anchovy sauce

12-14 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
4tbsp good-quality mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed

Cook the sprouting broccoli in boiling, salted water for 4-5 minutes until tender. You may need to split any thick stems with a knife prior to cooking, and then drain in a colander. Put the self-raising flour in a bowl and gently whisk in enough beer to make a batter (don't worry if there are a few lumps in it), then season. Mix the anchovies, mayonnaise and garlic together and put to one side.

Preheat about 8cm of oil to 160-180C in a large, thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer.

Cut the sprouting broccoli down into bite-sized pieces, then dip into the batter and deep fry them in a couple of batches, turning them in the fat with a slotted spoon as they are cooking, for 2-3 minutes, until they are lightly coloured and crisp; then remove from the fat and drain on some kitchen paper.

Season with sea salt and serve with the anchovy sauce on the plate or in a dipping pot.

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