They are on our flag, in our backyards and you've probably crunched a few under your boot this week. But what if maple leaves were on your dinner plate? I don’t mean a bowl full of maple leaves freshly picked from your yard. These leaves are battered and fried. Though this feels very patriotic, this isn't a Canadian culinary invention. Japan has been eating fried maple leaves as a seasonal specialty for years.
Photo courtesy FlickrCC/kimubertAccording to Brian Ashcroft at Kotaku, the snack is called "momiji tempura” and is typically made from the leaves of Japanese maple trees. Ashcroft explains that the leaves are preserved in salt then fried in sweet dough before enjoyed as a fall specialty. Yummy or not, a similar treat have been created by John Horne, executive chef at Canoe restaurant in Toronto, According to the Toronto Star, Horne didn't know about the Japanese dish before pickling and frying the sugar maple leaves for his Ontario-inspired menu. Apparently the key is to use green leaves. They aren’t as tasty once they’ve changed colour. When you think of it, we already eat leaves and petals in salads. Maybe this is just hyper-local snacking. Would you try fried maple leaves? More: Maple Leaf Sugar Cookies Best Maple Butter Tarts Fried Sage Leaves