Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ladies who lunch

These pictures are of zucchini. Yep, that's  right. Veg. Coated in lovely tempura goodness with garlic chips, mint and citrus aioli. And boy, was this ever so good. This fritte was part of a recent lunch Corey and I enjoyed at Coppa Ristorante Italiano in Houston, where Chef Brandi Key is at the helm and turning out thoughtfully composed modern Italian fare.

That fritte was more than just a run-of-the-mill small plate. I'm thinking it began with  super-fresh zucchini that went in for a quick blanch before being plunged into an ice bath, then patted dry. It was then coated with just the right amount of batter and fried for just the right amount of time, resulting in coyly translucent, delicately crunchy batons of lovely deliciousness. 

Piled campfire style on the plate, they were sprinkled with frizzled mint leaves and garlic chips. Finally, to bring it all together, a citrus aioli made with fresh oranges couldn't have been more of an unexpected, yet welcome contrast. I only wished for more garlic chips, which I didn't get to try as Miss Corey ate them all!

The pizza was a blend of different mushrooms, accompanied by melted leeks, tallegio cheese and topped with Arugula. It was a lovely texture with a fairly sturdy though chewy crust, and the mushrooms leeks were particularly enjoyable. While respectable by all pizza measures, it would be even better with a slightly thinner crust, and more of a cheese feel which we thought was strangely absent. But oh my, was it ever gorgeous to look at ...  

Did I mention that zucchini fritte? Here's another shot in case you missed it.

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