I have a thing for fritters. It’s the perfect thing to make when there are bits of this and that in the fridge. Or when you haven’t gone grocery shopping for a while. Or you want something burger-like, but not so heavy and bread-y. If you make them right, they can be flavorful and way (like w-a-a-ay) better than frozen beef patties that are so common.
I struggled with consistency of fritters for a while. Starting off with good intentions, they would crumble in the pan when I flip them and end up as a big pile of “fried”. (Yes, we still ate those anyway.) If I added too much binder (usually bread crumbs) they’d crumble because of dryness.
Fritter success was hit or miss until I discovered almond flour. And refrigeration. I started adding both of those things at the same time, so I don’t know which helped out more. Oh! Nuts was nice enough to send me some almond flour to try. I added it to some fritters one night and chilled the patties for 15 minutes before frying them. They held together better than any other fritters I’ve made. I’ve repeated this with three different recipes, and I’m a complete convert. Not only does almond flour add protein and nutrients, it displaces all of the white flour that usually constitutes bread crumbs.
I do have one concession, though. I like to coat the fritters in a small amount of panko bread crumbs. It forms a nice crust on the fritters without having to add a bunch inside.
And yes, I fry them. *gasp*
We worry more about types of fat than amounts. For things like this I only use heat-safe natural oils like coconut or grapeseed. If frying food still freaks you out, feel free to bake them. You might want to brush a little oil on them before they go into the oven so they form a nice crust.
Moral of this post:
1. Almond flour rocks.
2. Chilling uncooked fritters is a good thing.
3. Don’t be afraid of good fats.
This recipe comes from the same book as the Curried Potato, Chickpea, and Corn Burgers. I’m loving the recipes from Charney’s book. They are, in fact, bold, and these seemingly simple fritters are so flavorful. I was pleasantly surprised. So I ate a lot of them.
Lentil-Scallion Fritters with Goat Cheese
adapted from The Bold Vegetarian Chef by Ken Charney
1/2 cup lentils
2 large shallots, minced
2 T olive oil
4-5 scallions (green onions), coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 T coarse ground mustard
2 T fresh lemon juice
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
1 cup almond flour
dash of hot sauce, to taste
salt and pepper
1/2 cup oil for frying (coconut or grapeseed)
lemon wedges, for serving
Bring a medium saucepan 2/3 full of water to boil. Add 1 tsp of salt to the water, then the lentils. Cook over medium heat until soft, 25-30 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil gently over medium-low heat in a medium skillet. Cook shallots in the oil until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add scallions and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add the mustard, lemon juice, goat cheese, shallot-scallion mixture, and remaining 1 T olive oil to the lentils. Mash with a fork until thoroughly blended. Add the almond flour, hot sauce, and a couple of big pinches of salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well. Add more almond flour, if necessary, to get the right consistency. You’ll want them to hold together, but it shouldn’t be too sticky or wet. Form into about 16 2-inch patties. Place patties on a pan or plate and chill for 15 minutes in the fridge. (These can be made up to a day ahead. Just keep them covered in the fridge.)
When you’re ready to fry them, heat 3-4 T of oil in a large skillet (non-stick or a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet recommended) over medium-high heat. Add as many patties as will fit in a single layer without crowding. Fry until golden browned and crisp on both sides, 2-3 minutes each side. Transfer patties to a stack of paper towels and fry remaining patties, adding more oil to the pan as necessary.
Serve hot, with lemon wedges. These went really well with some roasted asparagus (Trim, then coat asparagus in a little oil and salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, shaking the pan a couple of times during cooking.) and a vinaigrette-dressed salad.
Makes about 16 patties or 4 main-dish servings with a side-dish and salad.
1. If you don’t have or can’t find almond flour, substitute 1/3-1/2 cup of dried bread crumbs.
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Tuna melts were a staple of my childhood. I don’t even know how many my mom made when we were growing up. I bet she’d qualify for some kind of medal. These fritters are great if you’re craving a tuna melt, but want to cut back on starches. The panko crumbs form a fantastic crust and underneath is what makes tuna melts so great. Omit the pickles if that’s not your thing.
Tuna Melt Fritters
2 7-ounce cans of water-packed tuna
1/4 tsp dried terragon or dill
2 medium-sized pickles, diced small
1 T dijon mustard
juice from 1/2 a lemon (about 1 T)
1 T minced onion
1/4 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
1/2-2/3 cup almond flour
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs, for coating the fritters (optional)
6 T heat-safe oil, for frying (coconut or grapeseed)
Combine all of the ingredients (except bread crumbs and oil) into a medium-sized mixing bowl. When you get everything combined, add more almond flour if it’s too sticky or a tablespoon of water if it’s too crumbly. (I doubt the latter will happen.)
Place bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Form mixture into 8-10 2-inch patties, coat both sides with bread crumbs and place on a large plate or platter. Chill for 15 minutes before frying.
When you’re ready to fry them, heat 4 T of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties, filling the pan in a single layer, but don’t overcrowd them. There should be space between them. Cook for about 8 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Patties should be heated all the way through and have a golden brown crust.
Serve hot. Makes 8-10 patties or 3-4 main-dish servings (rounded out with a salad and a side).
We ate these with some roasted carrots and Tyler Florence’s Caesar Salad. I thought the dressing was an excellent compliment for the tuna!
1. If you don’t have or can’t find almond flour, start with 1/2 cup bread crumbs and add more if necessary.
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