When I’m not cooking, one of the things I do is Permablitz. We design permaculture food gardens and engage the community to come together for a blitz to put everything in place, leaving the hosts with a productive food system. Our most recent blitz was at the house of some chilli-loving friends who gifted me a jar of their chilli jam to say thank you after the blitz. It inspired me to make these fritters, just to have something delicious to put the jam on!
The fritters are based on the Smitten Kitchen leek fritters, but as I only had one leek (not the three large ones that the recipe called for), I improvised and added carrots, chicory, zucchini, chilli, parsley, shallots, potato, and sweet potato. My idea was to match the weight of the leeks in the original recipe so I could be sure of the right quantities of flour and egg – of course leeks sweat down to be much smaller than my improvised ingredients, so I had to add extra egg and flour and just go by feel anyway! Ah, lessons learned…
3 stalks shallot
5-6 stalks chicory
1/2 medium sweet potato
1 handful parsley
2 long red chillies
1/2 cup plain flour
What you are aiming for is 900 grams grated/shredded vegetables. In the original recipe this is all leeks, so only one egg and 1/4 cup flour are needed. If you are using denser vegetables like I did, you will need an extra egg and an extra 1/4 cup flour.
Wash and shred your vegetables, chop your shallots and chilli. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add the vegetables and chilli (keep the shallots aside) and cook briefly (2 mins) until they are softened but not overcooked. Remove from the pot and drain very very well. I used a mesh bag to hang the vegetables over the sink and let the liquid drain off. I put a tea towel around the bag and squeezed as much water out as I could (careful! The liquid is hot!).
Once you have removed all the excess liquid that you can, place the vegetables in a large bowl and stir through the fresh shallots. Add the flour and 1/2 a tsp of sea salt and stir through until all vegetables are evenly coated with flour. Add 2 eggs, and stir through to combine, making sure it’s evenly distributed.
Heat your oven to a medium/low heat (around 120 degrees). In a heavy based pan (I used enamelled cast iron), heat some olive oil and drop small batches of fritter mixture into the pot. Let cook for a few minutes until they are golden underneath. Flip the fritters and let cook for a few more minutes to brown the other side. Resist the temptation to check them too early! This is important – if you try and move the fritter around before the crust has formed it will stick and potentially break apart. Watch the heat as you cook – I had to adjust it up and down as the pan heated up and retained more heat within the cast iron.
Once each fritter is cooked, place on a plate with paper towels to drain any excess oil, and then remove to a tray in the oven to keep warm. Let the fritters stay in the oven for about 10 minutes after you finish cooking to ensure they are all warm and cooked through. While they are warming, prepare a simple green salad if you want a fresh base to serve the fritters on – you could totally eat them by themselves if you prefer as well.
Served topped with chilli jam or tahini-miso sauce, these fritters make a quick dinner, an easy dish for brunch, or something great to bring to a pot luck!