Thursday, August 5, 2010

fritters for all

This is the weekend I am cooking for the big vegan cocktail party (now grown to 175 guests!) in the Hamptons. The goal of the menu I created was to keep the non-vegans not only happy, but in fact, satisfied. That led me to coming up with a fritter recipe. Who can resist something fried? My client mentioned artichokes and it seemed like a no brainer.

Feeling slightly insecure about how to keep fritters without eggs as a binder from falling apart, I did a little research. Indian cusine was a good source for an eggless fritter and I found a recipe that I could reinterpret with my own ingredients. The key it seems, is in having all your ingredients very dry. This means really squeezing the grated vegetables to get rid of excess water. 
Here is the batter squeezed as dry as possible. Just add enough flour and soy milk to act as a glue.

The technique worked like a charm and I am super happy with my test batch. Light, crispy and with a mild artichoke flavor the fritters held together beautifully! This recipe is a bit laborious but it is a great method to go back to when the occasion calls. It is perfect for vegans, those with egg alergies or when you want to make fritters and are all out of eggs.

These fritters are topped off with an egg-free lemon aioli. I am experimenting with different decorative designs here!

Vegan Artichoke Heart Fritters 
1 large potato
1 small onion
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup cooked artichoke hearts (use canned or frozen)
1 Tbs. chopped Thyme
2 Tbs. whole wheat flour
2 Tbs. soy milk
1/2 cup olive oil or canola oil
-grate potato and onion and squeeze dry
-defrost peas and squeeze dry
-mash together potatoes and peas in a large bowl
-chop up artichokes and squeeze dry, add to bowl
-mix vegetables together and add the chopped thyme
-gradualy add the flour and soy milk, making sure the mixture stays sticky and not too loose
-heat oil in a pan
-form small patties by the tablespoon and drop into the hot oil
-fry the fritters slowly, about 4 minutes on one side, so they don’t break, turn and fry 2 more minutes till golden
-remove from pan, sprinkle with salt and serve with eggless aoili
makes about 25 fritters
 Eggless Lemon Aioli
1 cup eggless mayonaise
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
Wisk all ingredients together and serve with the fritters

Sounds like you definitely have your work cut out for you with this cocktail party! But the challenge seems fun and interesting (probably because I'm not the one creating it...). I hope you will let us know how the party goes! And also what else you have on the menu...

Artichokes are one of those tricky vegetables to pair with wine. This doesn't mean that there are no options. Here they are fried -and I would consider this important characteristic when deciding what wine to pair with it. Plus, this is a cocktail party, so you want all-around versatile, food-friendly wines. And, with the large number of attendees, look towards inexpensive, everyday wines.

Immediately, these fritters make me think of light, crisp whites with good acidity. Fried foods tend to pair very well with wines with these qualities. Choose a California sparkler, Prosecco, Gruner Veltliner, Albarino, or Sauvignon Blanc and you won't be disappointed. All of these options will also be wonderful with the Eggless Lemon Aioli as well. Artichokes tend to impart a "sweetness" to white wines, so make sure you choose something very dry. (all of the aforementioned wines are dry...)

Caposaldo Prosecco is one of my current fave's in sparkling wines. I have it on hand all summer long and it is my "go to" bottle to bring to friends' homes. It never disappoints! Everyone loves it, and with it's inherent festivity (it is "bubbly" after all...) Prosecco makes a perfect addition to a cocktail gathering. ($11.99)

Albarino's high acidity makes it a perfect match for fried foods, and it's lean, clean, dry characteristics will work well with the artichokes.

Every party must include reds as well. For a vegan party in particular, I would go with something simple, light and fruity. I'm guessing most of the food will be on the lighter side, and a big, complex wine would only serve to overpower the hors d'oeuvres. Choose an inexpensive Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais Villages. Both of these can be served with a slight chill which is perfect for these hot summer days. Chilled Beaujolais Village in particular makes a great aperitif! And, it's extremely affordable. We just received the 2009 and it is on sale for only $8.99.

1 comment:

  1. One of the best meals I've had, which happened to be vegan, was at the Millenium in San Francisco. I couldn't believe the desserts - I didn't miss dair or eggs at all! It's amazing what you can do without these ingredients but it's all much more time consuming. Great that you have an option here on how to get around an egg-less fritter!


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