7/02/2013

spinach farro feta fritters

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Inspired by the June issue of Vegetarian Times which boasted (and delivered) a bounty of "light summer meals," I re-discovered my love of the fritter. Now, fritters can be anywhere from savory to sweet to lightly pan-fried to completely deep-fried and I have no argument with any of the above-mentioned situations. However, when it comes to a fritter that is dinner-worthy, it's probably best to hang up the glaze or the confectioners sugar (though a good pancake-themed dinner can do wonders every once in awhile) and make way for other ingredients such as spinach, onions and, for just a touch of sweet, golden raisins.


While VT's original concoction was made with a millet-base, I so happened to have a bag of farro on hand. This makes perfect sense, considering it is my new favorite ancient grain. My love for its chewy, distinct texture runs deep, my friends. Having made my fair share of farro salads and warm pilafs, I thought a fritter was just the way to expand my options for using this particular variety. I am pretty sure, however, that millet would work just as lovely, as would any other semi-sturdy grain.


For this recipe, you'll need:

2 cups cooked farro or grain of your choosing
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups finely chopped spinach
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (though you may need more)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons olive oil

Basically, the instructions are as simple as this: mix everything, minus the olive oil, together in a medium-large bowl. Yes, that's really it. Let this mixture stand for about five minutes, as this gives it time to begin to hold together, which you will find rather useful when it comes to the pan-frying stage of the game. After five minutes have passed, VT suggests that you should be able to pinch together the mixture without it falling apart or feeling too wet. Too wet, you say? Add more breadcrumbs. Not pinchy enough? Add slightly more egg. This is a very tricky guessing game, if you ask me, but as long as you follow the recipe amounts closely, you should have a perfectly pinch-able mixture before you.


Next you may shape your fritters, making about 12-14 total, depending on how big or small you make them. Mine were not perfectly round and did not hold together fantastically during this transfer, but I trust you'll find a way to make it work.


Heat your olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. The goal here is to cook the egg mixture through without burning the edges first. So, if your pan is too hot, you'll have a burnt exterior with a raw runny interior. No thank you to that. Keep an eye on each batch and cook them for 5 to 10 minutes per side, or until the bottoms are brown but not black.


I was a big fan of how these turned out, I must say. Filling and fresh with the taste of organic NJ-grown spinach, the feta and raisins providing a balanced flavor, and the farro holding together nicely.

Note: I would have changed just one thing: caramelize your onions before incorporating. Though they spend a bit of time in the pan while frying, the time is unfortunately not enough to really soften or sweeten them. My opinion only, of course, and I'll try that method the next time around.