Saturday, August 23, 2014
Tomato Fritters: Clearly, I Have a Fritter Problem
Yes, I've posted recipes like this before, but usually for just squash fritters, because my garden is always overrun with squash. This year I have one solitary squash plant and, uhm, fourteen tomato plants. (They came in six packs! What was I supposed to do, throw them out?)
Anyway, I always felt like they needed Greek yogurt or balsamic vinegar or lemon or something to give the squash fritters a little more flavor and tang. I now realize that better flavor can be accomplished with, you guessed it, tomatoes. The fritters get sweet and they stay really moist inside- fully cooked but not dried out. I eat them plain now, right out of the pan, as soon as my mouth can stand the temperature.
The herbs can vary a LOT and still be amazing. I like these combos: a teaspoon each of dill and garlic powder, plus a 1/4 cup chopped chives
OR 1/4 cup each of chopped parsley, green onion and fresh mint.
In this recipe, I went with Herbs de Provence and no onions or garlic. Rosemary is pretty strong so there's not very much. (I wouldn't use white onions or raw garlic by the way, these don't get cooked long enough.)
I cup of chopped tomatoes, without juice
1 cup of packed down grated summer squash, without juice
1/2 cup semolina flour, or all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried Herbs de Provence (or other spice combo from above)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup crumbled goat's cheese
1 large egg
Panko bread crumbs, optional
Oil for frying, I used about 1/4 cup of oil, but frankly I don't really measure. If you don't like olive oil, avocado oil is really good (or both)
More salt and pepper to sprinkle on top afterwards
Grate or food process the summer squash, one large or two small is plenty. Put the pile in a strong paper towel and squeeze the heck out of it with your hands until all the juice comes out. If you have a little more or less than a cup it doesn't really matter.
Chop the tomatoes like you would for pico de gallo. Two tomatoes, or a bunch of cherry tomatoes should be about right. Pick up the pieces of tomato, leaving as much of the juice and seeds behind as you can, and place them on a paper towel, then lay another paper towel on top and gently press to get more juice out. Again, slightly more or less than a cup doesn't matter.
Put your veggies in a mixing bowl and add the flour, baking powder and spices and toss well with a spoon. Next add the crumbled goat cheese (to be honest I think I had more like a 1/3 cup goat cheese, but this is kind of up to you.) Add the egg last and mix well. The batter will be like chunky drop biscuit batter.
Heat the oil on medium high until it's really hot. Make the fritters about a heaping tablespoon each. I like to scoop out the batter with the spoon, but then I shape it a little bit in my hands like a flattened meatball before I put it in the pan. Fry them for at least a minute in each side. Now sometimes I accidentally turn them too soon, because I panic about how brown they are getting, but they can be pretty dark brown and they will be really good, crispy on the outside and juicy and cheesy on the inside.
When you pull them out of the pan place them on a paper towel in a single layer to drain, and salt and pepper them immediately.
Now, if you want them even more crisp- when you are spooning and gently molding the batter into the little patties, you can then coat each side with some panko bread crumbs. If I were doing this, I would do them all first before starting to fry them, because it takes too much time to coat each one before you plop them in the pan; you don't want the cooking times of each patty to be that far apart.
If you are avoiding red meat, you could make a larger hamburger-patty shaped version and stick it on a toasted bun with a little mayo or HP sauce. You could also serve the larger ones at breakfast with a fried egg on top (and you can be all trendy that way, it seems everyone puts fried eggs on their food these days, right?) If you're doing gluten-free just use corn meal instead of flour. If you're doing non-dairy this in an opportunity to use one of those Toffuti cream or ricotta cheeses.