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Green collage fritters (kelp, courgette and spring onion fritters)

February 13, 2011

Before you recoil in horror at the thought of kelp (full stop), my meat-and-potatoes-loving boyfriend actually reacted with a rabid “MMHMHMMM!” when I tentatively asked: “What do you think?”

Sadly, I can’t claim the genius kudos for “inventing” these (incidentally google doesn’t return any “kelp fritter” recipes, not in English anyway). About a month ago a group of friends and I headed to Cook n’ with gas for dinner, and because the mushroom parfait had rabbit or something in it, I went for the pea and kelp fritters, which were the lone vegetarian entree option. Oh, how I’m glad I did. They were much, much tastier than these, but I had courgettes on hand, and don’t get me wrong, these are still delightful. The pea and kelp fritters were outstanding though, with slightly smushed green peas and baby broad beans – a great sweet and refreshing twang to contrast the kelp. They blew my mind, however I’ve been impatient to try them and our freezer has no space for baby broad beans or peas. Plus, why would I get frozen veges right now? It’d be madness with everything so cheap and fresh and delicious. Since I also have an aversion to shucking peas/beans, courgettes were the next best thing.

Armed with a basic courgette fritter recipe from the lovely Beth at Budget Bytes (an excellent, excellent food blog), I got to work. These are a little more effort I will admit, but they are also even healthier and more delicious, and totally worth it. The fritters that get less battery stuff on them are quite crispy at the edges, so much so that I think I’d be partial to doing some kelp tempura chips at some stage. The ones with lots of batter are nice and soft without being too wet or sludgy. Fritter heaven, I’m telling you.

Bonus: they look quite pretty, flecked with green and gold and a light happy yellow.

If you’re wondering where to get kelp: pretty much any Asian supermarket. It should come dried, and is sometimes called seaweed, but it looks totally different to normal sushi seaweed- it’s very “raw” looking, like a wet t-shirt that dried up and was then hastily stuffed into a plastic bag (but I promise it doesn’t taste the same, haha). As an added incentive: this stuff is pretty cheap – I think this bag cost around $2, and remember it swells when you re-hydrate it!

I got given the above bag from my Aunt, but you can use whatever kelp you want, just make sure it’s not like the stuff you use to make sushi. Although, who knows, that could taste good too.

If you’re going to be brave and reap the reward that is this delicious green collage of a fritter, try not to be put off by the vagueness of the recipe. The thing is, depending on a number of factors, you might not use nearly the same amount of flour, or water, or whatever. That’s ok though. They’re fritters.

One last note about the kelp: I started with 50g dried kelp but chopped up the rest to put in a salad (forthcoming). This is a great time saving measure because you don’t have to do the rinsing again.

Green collage fritters (with kelp, courgette, and spring onions)

makes about 8 (we had 4 each as a light lunch)

  • about 20g dried kelp (it looks like nothing until you boil it and it expands like crazy) – you can cut it with scissors
  • about 1c grated courgette/zucchini
  • about 3/4-1c finely chopped spring onion (green and white parts) or scallions or green onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt to start (more to taste)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2c plain white flour, to start with
  • 1/3 c buckwheat flour (if you have some – this makes it crispier and healthier) or regular plain white flour
  • plenty of cooking oil

Put a kettle of water on to boil. In a small/medium saucepan, rinse kelp in cold water to remove salt on the surface. Drain. It will smell, but it doesn’t smell or taste anything like it does at this point, so don’t worry. Pour hot water over the kelp and place on medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer away for about five minutes, just to make sure it’s all clean (it’s ok if you let it simmer longer). You can prep the other ingredients in this time.

Mix courgette, spring onion, salt and egg together vigrorously, until foamy bits appear to cling to the veges. Once kelp is done, drain (you can use this load of water to water your garden, but not the first cold rinse as it is too salty), and squeeze out any excess water. Warning: the kelp will be slimy and none too pleasant to handle, but don’t worry, as it’s not slimy in the final product. Fold some of the kelp over itself and slice as thinly as possible. Chop in the opposite direction a few times so you don’t get any super long kelp tendrils. Mix in to the eggy mixture, then mix in buckwheat flour to start, then plain flour. There should be a nice layer of batter covering everything, and you should be able to drip the batter, just. If too wet, add more flour, if too dry, add water a teaspoon at a time. Taste and season further with salt if necessary.

Heat a generous layer of oil in a frying pan on medium low heat. Once oil is hot (a water droplet will crackle when flicked into the oil), use a tablespoon to pick up a bit of batter and ease into the pan, patting down a little into rounds (although few of mine ended up being very round). Continue until pan is full of rounds (I did 4 at a time). Let cook until undersides are golden brown – you should see the edges turn brown before attempting to flip them. Flip and cook until the other side is also golden brown. Remove to a plate lined with ungreased baking paper, parchment or paper towel (I re-use the lining of flour bags for this). Do the next lot until batter is all gone.

Serve with a home made tomato sauce, on their own, or with some sour cream and sprinkling of chives.

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