Tempura Watercress & Olives

You’ll need high-heat frying oil such as canola, grapeseed, or peanut, watercress, egg yolks, cake flour, cornstarch, lemon, dry-cured black olives.
 
Like Belgian endive, watercress is an assertive, bitter green, though heartier than endive and with a peppery bite. The double-whammy richness of Rush Creek paired
with tempura is admittedly excessive, but the tempura’s crisp texture contrasts the creamy cheese, and the bitter tones of watercress and lemon rein in the richness.
Dry-cured black olives are little bullets of concentrated, salty umami flavor.
 
In a heavy-bottomed pot with high sides, heat 2 cups oil over medium heat to 350°F. Meanwhile, prepare the cheese, vegetables, and tempura batter.
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Clean and thoroughly dry 1 large bunch watercress. Wrap a room-temperature Rush Creek Reserve in aluminum foil. Bake for about
15 minutes, until the cheese is molten. It should be ready to eat at about the same time as the tempura.
 
In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup water and 1 cup ice, then divide into 1 cup chilled water and 1/4 cup ice cubes.
 
Place 2 egg yolks in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup cake flour, 1/2 cup cornstarch, the chilled water, and the ice cubes and mix lightly with chopsticks. Don’t overmix; it’s
okay if some pockets of dry flour remain.
 
Spread 1/2 cup cake flour on a baking sheet and line a second baking sheet with paper towels. Position the bowl of batter near the hot oil.
 
Toss one-quarter of the watercress in the cake flour, making sure the flour sticks to the watercress. Shake off excess flour, toss through the batter to coat, and place in
the hot oil. Drizzle a bit of batter on top of the frying watercress using chopsticks—this will help achieve the crispy, lacy tempura. Fry until the bottom of the watercress
is golden, about 2 minutes, then turn with chopsticks or a slotted spoon and fry for another minute or two. Transfer to the paper towel–lined baking sheet, spritz
with lemon juice, and season very, very lightly with kosher salt. Fry the remaining watercress in three batches.
 
Add 1/2 cup pitted oil-cured black olives to the remaining batter and fry two or three at a time (the olives may cluster together, which is fine), turning with a slotted
spoon, until the batter is golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to the paper towel–lined baking sheet. Serve both tempuras immediately.

Cook time: 

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