Scorzonera Tempura with spicy dipping sauce

Scorzonera is delicious with this easy dipping sauce, but it's also great served simply with a little flaky sea salt and a few lemon wedges.

Scorzonera is delicious with this easy dipping sauce, but it's also great served simply with a little flaky sea salt and a few lemon wedges. Serves four as a starter. This Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recipe could also use salsify root instead of scorzonera. 

Ingredients:
3-4 scorzonera roots

For the batter

  • 125g plain flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 175ml ice-cold sparkling water

For the dipping sauce

  • 2 medium red chillies, deseeded, membrane and seeds removed, and finely diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 100ml cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • About 1 litre sunflower or groundnut oil for frying

First, make the dipping sauce. Put all the ingredients into a small saucepan, place over a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Now raise the heat a little, bring up to a simmer and cook until reduced and syrupy, about five minutes. Pour into a small bowl and set to one side until you are ready to serve.

Fill a medium-large saucepan with water, bring to a boil and cook the salsify for five minutes. Drain, refresh in cold water, then rub off the skins and cut the salsify into 4cm pieces. Whisk the ingredients for the batter – don't worry if it turns out a bit lumpy.

Heat 10cm of oil in a deep, heavy-based saucepan until it registers 180C on a frying thermometer or a cube of bread goes brown in 30 seconds. Dip the salsify in the batter and deep-fry a few pieces at a time until crisp and golden, about a minute. Serve at once with the spicy dipping sauce alongside.