Monday, December 10, 2012
Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Smoky Yogurt, Pomegranate
Makes 18 2-inch fritters
I prefer fritters with a lot of vegetable and just the faintest amount of batter, loosely tethering the vegetable chunks to each other. It will seem weird as you put the piles of batter in the pan — “these are going to fall apart!” — but gently nudge any loose pieces back on the pile and I promise, once they’re cooked, they will stay together and their flavor will be crisp and clear, uncluttered by an eggy, soft batter.
1 small head cauliflower (1 pound florets, i.e. stems and leaves removed), cut into generous 1 to 2 inch chunks
1 large egg
1 garlic clove, minced
Few gratings of fresh lemon zest
3 ounces crumbled feta (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes; less if using regular red pepper flakes, which are hotter
3/4 teaspoon table salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Olive oil for frying
3/4 cup yogurt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful pomegranate arils
Cook cauliflower in simmering salted water, uncovered, until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes, until firm but tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain well. Spread on towels to dry as much as possible.
In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together egg, garlic and lemon zest. Add cauliflower florets and mash with a potato masher until they’re crushed into an average of pea-sized pieces (i.e. some will be bigger, some smaller, but most will be little nubs). Sprinkle in feta and stir to combine egg mixture, cauliflower and feta. In a small dish, whisk flour, salt, pepper and baking powder until evenly combined. Sprinkle over cauliflower batter and stir just until combined.
Heat oven to 200 degrees and place a tray inside. On the stove, heat a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat. Once hot, add a good slick of oil, about 2 to 3 tablespoons. Once the oil is hot (you can test it by flicking a droplet of water into it; it should hiss and sputter), scoop a two tablespoon-size mound of the batter and drop it into the pan, then flatten it slightly with your spoon or spatula. Repeat with additional batter, leaving a couple inches between each. Once brown underneath, about 2 to 3 minutes, flip each fritter and cook on the other side until equally golden, about another 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer briefly to paper towels to drain, then the tray in the oven to keep them warm until needed. Once all fritters are cooked, mix yogurt with cumin, salt and pepper. Spread fritters on serving platter. Dollop each with cumin yogurt and sprinkle with pomegranate arils.
Do ahead: Fritters both freeze and reheat well. To warm and recrisp them, lay them on a tray and toast them at 400 degrees in the oven until crisp again.
Monday, December 3, 2012
Fleur de Sel (Sea Salt) Caramels with Vanilla Bean
Sea salt and vanilla beans add an elegant touch to homemade caramel candies.
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 vanilla bean pod, split and scraped
- 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup Lyle's golden syrup (or light corn syrup)
- 1/4 cup water
- Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, then lightly butter parchment.
- Bring cream, butter, vanilla, vanilla beans, pods, and sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan, then remove from heat and set aside.
- Boil sugar, corn syrup, and water in a 3- to 4-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan, until mixture is a light golden caramel.
- Remove pods and carefully stir cream mixture into the caramel (mixture will bubble up) and simmer, stirring frequently, until caramel registers 246-248 on thermometer. 246 will give you a softer caramel that will stretch when you bite it but is easily squished or flattened, especially in a warm house. 248 will give you a firmer, still chewy caramel. Pour into baking pan and cool 30 minutes. Sprinkle another pinch or two of salt over the top of the caramel for a nice salty crunch and let sit until completely cooled. Cut into 1-inch pieces (I buttered a pizza cutter), and then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, twisting 2 ends to close.
NotesYields: 64 candies
1 medium apple
4-6 ounces brie
1-2 tablespoons honey
Slice baguette, apple and brie. Spread bread on a baking sheet, and layer with apple, then brie. Drizzle with honey, and bake in a preheated 375° oven for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately