Get Very Crispy Fried Vegetables With a Little Cornstarch
We love fried vegetables here and are always interested in simple ways to make this already versatile technique even more appealing. Recently baking chips in the oven got me thinking: If a little cornstarch can turn sad, bland, fried potato sticks into crunchy, mostly fried goodies, can it do the same with other vegetables?
After several weeks of adding cornstarch to the fried bites of various plant bites, I can confirm that it makes them crunchier and it’s as easy as it sounds. If you need to put your vegetables in the oven for dinner right now , add a little starch after you have seasoned with oil, salt and your spices, stirring to create a thin, even layer. You don’t need a lot – a tablespoon of starch per pound of vegetables is enough. Spread vegetables on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil and bake as usual for very crispy results – perhaps thirty seconds extra work.
While I am a proponent of expediency, the cornstarch method is really effective if you take a few minutes to start the browning process. I do this by partially cooking the seasoned starchy vegetables on the stovetop in a hot, well-oiled skillet. (Cast iron works, but stainless steel gives the best crust.) After I’ve browned the vegetables on all sides, I transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake. You can also do this completely on a baking sheet: preheat the skillet in the oven , then pour about two tablespoons of oil into the hot skillet and return it to the oven for two to three minutes. Gently turn the skillet over to distribute the hot oil evenly, lay the vegetables in one layer and bake until lightly browned and tender, stirring gently halfway through. Leave some space between the slices to get a good crust, but don’t worry – they will turn out great, even if they are a little crowded.
I’ve used cornstarch for stir-fried carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli, and Yukon Golds and it’s been a pleasure every time. Next in line are the diced eggplants and tender pumpkin slices, and I think they will be delicious too.