Seasonal Pantry: How to make versatile veggie fritters
The other day, I read an article about meatless meatballs.
Why are we tying ourselves in knots trying to bridge the meatless divide? It seems advertisers believe people who want to avoid meat or eat less of it still want to think they’re eating something similar, at least in taste.
A little fried morsel is correctly known as a fritter or croquette. It may contain a bit of meat or seafood, but most of the ingredients will be from plants. If the source of the ingredients is an animal, it’s a meatball.
Zucchini, carrots, beets, spaghetti squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips all make wonderful fritters that can be served as appetizers, in soups and salads, over noodles and in stews.
One of the delightful qualities of a fritter is its lightness, a quality that blossoms as the round dough cooks in hot oil. When cooked in a pan with just a slick of fat, the dough doesn’t rise, a process that is additionally inhibited by pressing down on the dough with a spatula. Cakes are delicious in their own right, but a fritter must be round to reach its full flavor and texture.
These fritters are one of my most requested recipes; I’ve made thousands of them. They’re great in summer, with zucchini fritters, or in winter. .
Carrot Fritters with Honey Ginger Mustard
Makes about 18 2-inch fritters
— Peanut oil for deep frying
2 pounds carrots, trimmed, peeled and grated
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon white mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
— Kosher salt
— Black pepper in a mill
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 large bunch cilantro or 1 large bunch spring mustard
— Honey Ginger Mustard (recipe follows)
In a deep frying pan, heat about 3 inches of peanut oil to 360 degrees.
While the oil heats, mix the fritter batter. In a large bowl, toss together the carrots, cilantro leaves and fresh ginger. In a small bowl, combine the mustard seeds, cumin, flour, baking powder, a teaspoon of salt and several turns of pepper. Add the mixture to the carrots and toss together lightly. Pour the beaten eggs over the carrot mixture and mix quickly with a fork.
To make the fritters, use a small ice cream scoop or soup spoon to shape the fritters into rounds. Drop the uncooked fritters one by one into the hot oil, waiting until the oil simmers before adding each one. Work in batches and do not crowd the fritters. Turn the fritters after 1 minute and fry until they are golden brown, about 1 more minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fritters to absorbent paper to drain.
Cover a serving platter with the cilantro or mustard and set the fritters on top. Enjoy, with the mustard alongside for dipping.
Honey Ginger Mustard
Makes about ½ cup
2 tablespoons Colman’s dry mustard
1 tablespoons ice water
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons candied ginger, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced