Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fennel Fritters

Fennel. Fresh fennel, in the bulb. I think I first had it in about 1985, served to me by a friend. She and her husband are Italian, and she shaved thin pieces into a green salad. I was blown away by the taste, asked her about it, and have been using it ever since. I buy a fennel bulb every week or so and usually it's reserved for salads, in small little slivers. I rarely take the time to shave the fennel with a potato peeler to get the paper-thin type I was originally served. I even enjoy munching on raw fennel too. It's like celery, but with more flavor. The hint of anise in fennel is very subtle.

And my friend Joan brought some fabulous Baked Fennel with Parmigiano-Reggiano one time to an Italian meal we shared with travel friends when we were heading for a trip to Tuscany together. I've written up that recipe already - click on the title in the previous sentence to get to it. But, other than that dish, I've not had it cooked. Until now, that is.

I don't remember where I was referred to the blog, Rustic Food, or just "Rustic." But Batul lives in England and uploads some very interesting recipes now and then. A recipe has not been posted since January, however, so Batul must be on hiatus. The recipes are different, with lots of Middle Eastern overtones. This one is no exception. Fennel Fritters. They sounded so unusual. I printed out the recipe nearly a year ago, but just made them to accompany a grilled steak for our dinner. My DH loved them. I loved them.

Here you see what the diced up fennel and onion looked like. I did this by hand, so I could control the size better than in the food processor. But, you might be able to use the processor on this anyway. I didn't have fresh dill, unfortunately, but used some dried (never as good). I had Greek feta on hand, which is a bit less salty than some, so did add a little bit of salt. Taste it before you add the raw egg and make a decision about that yourself. I also added a few grinds of black pepper and about a tablespoon of sour cream to the mixture.

They were very easy to fry - just a little bit of olive oil in a nonstick pan, and the fritters/pancakes took about 2 - 3 minutes per side, I'd say. Maybe less on the 2nd side. They were easy to turn, even though the mixture is quite soft. You don't get little air bubbles to tell you they're ready to turn, like you do with pancakes. Have a heated oven and hot plate standing by, so you can transfer them to keep warm while you do another batch. Fennel, when cooked, turns into this lovely smooth texture and very mellow. But the fennel in these fritters doesn't cook completely - there's still a bit of crunch to it. The pancake reminded me of egg fu yung, something I haven't seen on Chinese restaurant menus since I was a youngster. Eggy. Soft. I'll be making this again. I had some sour cream languishing in the refrigerator, so also put a little dollop on each pancake to serve. Batul's recipe called for a dollop of yogurt on each fritter. But, it really doesn't need it. Really.

The original recipe didn't say how many it served. I thought maybe about 4 (leftovers, thank you), but oh well. They're low in calorie and fat. We ate them all, except for one lone pancake. So plan accordingly. Or maybe you can have more restraint than we did.

Fennel Fritters
Recipe: Rustic Food blog
Servings: 4
1 whole fennel bulb -- finely chopped
1 small onion -- finely chopped
4 tbsp dill -- chopped
4 tbsp feta cheese -- crumbled (or cheddar grated)
3 whole eggs
3 tbsp flour -- (up to 4)
1 tbsp sour cream (my addition)
1 tsp baking powder
salt to taste (you don't need much because of the feta)
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, drizzle some olive oil in a nonstick frying pan, pour in the mixture, 2 tbsp for each fritter, cook on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Best when it is warm and served with yogurt.
NOTES : Don' t throw away outer leaves of fennel, they are fine with this recipe.
Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 139 Calories; 6g Fat (38.2% calories from fat); 8g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 167mg Cholesterol; 317mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 1 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
To print a PDF recipe only, click title at top.

1 comment:

Erika W. said...

Oh! I'm so glad I scrolled down today! I love fennel- fennel fritters! Oh my gosh, that sounds really good.