For the most part my digestion does not cope well with fried food. “Does not cope well” is a euphemism by the way. There are exceptions though.
Every once in awhile the urge to live on the edge with a little fried treat overwhelms the voice of reason (and experience). One of our favourite such treats is an order of fish and chips from the staunchly 20th century (circa 1974) Pittenweem Fish Bar, in the East Neuk of Fife (near St Andrew’s – golfers, take note). Not sure what the bar thing is all about (probably denoting that one orders from a counter) but they serve delectably fresh local fish – pearly white flesh under a crisp golden puffy (puffy is important) batter. With chips.
The best place to eat fish and chips is on a harbour wall, feet swinging over the edge, watching the fishing boats go out for the evening. We usually share the chips between the three of us as an order of chips (fries) in Scotland is – depending how you view such things – quite the bargain. I think Scotland may be working its way through an EC ‘food mountain‘ of potatoes.
This happens maybe twice a year. And it is all the better for its rarity.
But these cauliflower fritters may have to be eaten a bit more frequently. They of course taste nothing like fish and chips but feel like a treat nonetheless. A fairly quickly made – and vegetarian – treat at that.
We had them for lunch – Mr A had his in a lonely bread roll slathered in ketchup, while Miss R and I had some with a green salad. They didn’t have a chance to go cold but if you have leftovers or need to wait to eat them, pop them in the oven to reheat – about eight minutes at 180C/350F should do the trick.
To make them I steamed roughly chopped pieces of cauliflower, just until the point of a knife slipped in, then chopped the pieces rather finely and mixed with sautéed onion, garlic and celery. You can instead rice the cauliflower (this is a link to my bloggy friend Alyssa’s method) in a food processor, popping the cauli rubble onto a baking tray and roasting until just starting to go a little toasty in places. It will save a step and a little time, but in this instance I prefer the control of steaming then hand chopping the cauliflower.
As for flavourings, I have in as an option half a green pepper. I didn’t have one but I think it would be a truly authentic addition: Creole cooking often features green peppers. And if you don’t have capers, why not use the same amount of chopped dill pickle? You could also use curry powder instead of the Creole blend, or I think just capers and raisins would be good – for a Sicilian twist.
We will still go for our twice-yearly Pittenweem fish and chips, but any time we get to hankering for a little fried treat all I need to do is buy a cauliflower – harbour view optional.
I am entering this recipe into this month’s Spice Trail round-up and competition, hosted by Vanesther of Bangers & Mash. The spice this month is Paprika. And as I have not one but potentially three (!) types of paprika in this recipe, I think that has me qualified. 😀 I would also like to pop this over to Mark of Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/ Luv for his weekly, all-homemade Made With Love Mondays. Thanks Mark and Vanesther!
Two years ago: Carrot and Marmalade Cake
Track of the week: TCTS – These Heights
Lovely and crunchy-soft, with a hint of New Orleans spice, these cauliflower fritters make a delicious snack or lunch for the whole family.
Serve with soft buns/rolls, pittas, rolled in lettuce leaves or just as they are with ketchup or spicy remoulade sauce, a sharp green salad and maybe some roasted squash wedges.
Makes approximately 12 quarter-cup fritters (2-4 per person)
Cauliflower, half – approximately 375-400g (4 cups, steamed, minced)
Olive oil or neutral oil such as rapeseed/canola – approximately 4 tbsp
Onion, half – 100g (3/4 cup), finely chopped
Garlic – 2 fat cloves, minced
Celery – 1 stick, finely minced
Green pepper, half – deseeded and very finely minced (optional)
Capers – 2 tbsp, chopped
2 tbsp Creole blend – see below
Salt – 1 tsp or to taste
Spelt or other flour such as gluten-free blend or plain AP – 4 tbsp
Egg, 2 – lightly beaten (can use chia/flax ‘eggs’ although I haven’t tried it this way)*
Chop the cauliflower into rough pieces and steam for five minutes. Let the cauliflower air dry for a couple of minutes then finely chop. Take one-third of the cauliflower and mash it. Put all of the cauliflower into a mixing bowl and set aside.
While the cauliflower is steaming, sauté the onion, garlic, celery, green pepper, capers, Creole blend and salt in 1 tablespoon of oil for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Pop the seasoned vegetables into the mixing bowl along with the flour and egg, mixing well. Leave the mixture for about fifteen minutes.
Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan over a medium flame. When a flick of water sizzles, lower the temperature to medium-low and scoop about a quarter cup of fritter mixture, pressing it gently into the pan, and spreading gently with the back of a spatula to flatten. Add a few more dollops to the pan, leaving plenty of room around each as this makes them easier to flip.
Cook approximately 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Place cooked fritters on a couple of sheets of kitchen paper and keep warm in a low oven until you are finished cooking all of the fritters.
Eat immediately. * can use 3-4 egg whites instead of the egg
2-1/2 Tbsp paprika
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp garlic powder
½ Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tbsp. white pepper
1 tsp celery seed (optional)
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp cayenne (traditional) or hot paprika
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried thyme (3/4 tbsp if using dried wild thyme)
Put everything into a screw top jar and shake vigorously to mix (or mix in a bowl). If you want to, add 2 tbsp of fine salt. Keeps well for up to three months.
To make this a Taco Blend, take out the thyme, celery seed and smoked paprika; add in 2 tbsp of cumin powder and –if you have it – 1 tbsp of amchoor (dried mango) powder. The latter adds a tart lime-like flavour.