Recipe by Joshua McFadden, Ava Gene's, Portland

We batter and fry every vegetable at some point throughout the year at Ava Gene’s. It is all dependent on the season, in the spring you can see ramps, spring onions, asparagus, snap peas, into mid summer with squash, green tomatoes, eggplant, artichokes. Into the fall and winter, we like to roast winter squash, onions, and beets and then dip them in batter and fry away. It is always fun to have an assortment. It takes about 2-3 minutes to fry vegetables in a large heavy bottomed pot, you want to do them in small batches and drain them on a paper towel. The oil is very hot (350 degrees). Be careful and be patient.

We serve them with grated cheese, fried herbs, lemon, spicy honey, pickled chiles, mayo, salsas and more at Ava Gene’s. You can mix it up however you see fit, but always use a lemon. Pick any seasonal vegetable, dip in the batter and fry away and serve straight away.


Makes enough for about 1 pound vegetables

½ cup cornstarch

½ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon dried chile flakes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

About 1 cup sparkling water

You can also add in crushed dried herbs, such as coriander, fennel seeds, sesame seeds and on and on.

Whisk together the cornstarch, flour, chile flakes, and a generous amount of salt and black pepper. Whisk in enough sparkling water to make a batter the consistency of thin pancake batter. Keep cold and use the batter within an hour or two.