An appetising vegetarian side from Ottolenghi SIMPLE – perfect for brunch.
These can be snacked on as they are, at room temperature, or else served with a green tahini sauce and some extra herbs. If you want to make the tahini sauce then just blitz together 50g tahini, 30g parsley, ½ crushed garlic clove, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1∕8 tsp salt. Once this is all in the blender, blitz for 30 seconds and pour in 125ml water. Holding back on the water allows the parsley to get really broken up and turns the sauce as green as can be. This sauce is lovely spooned over all sorts of things – grilled meat and fish and roasted vegetables, for example – so double or triple the batch and keep it in the fridge. It keeps well for about 5 days. You might want to thin it with a little water or lemon juice to get it back to the right consistency. These fritters are a bit of a fridge raid, using up whatever herbs you have around. As long as you keep the total net weight the same and use a mixture of herbs, this will still work wonderfully. The batter will keep, uncooked, for 1 day in the fridge. Alternatively, pile the fritters into pitta bread with condiments: a combination of yoghurt, chilli sauce, pickled vegetables and tahini works well. You’d just need one fritter per person, rather than two.
Iranian Herb Fritters
Makes 8 fritters to serve 4-8 (depending on whether everyone is having one, in a pitta, or two as they are)
- 40g dill, finely chopped
- 40g basil leaves, finely chopped
- 40g coriander leaves, finely chopped
- 1½ tsp ground cumin
- 50g fresh breadcrumbs (about 2 slices, crusts left on if soft)
- 3 tbsp barberries (or currants, see p.301)
- 25g walnut halves, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
- 8 large eggs, beaten
- 60ml sunflower oil, for frying
Place all the ingredients, apart from the oil, in a large bowl with ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix well to combine and set aside.
Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a large non-stick pan and place on a medium high heat. Once hot, add ladles of batter to the pan. Do 4 fritters at a time, if you can – you want each of them to be about 12cm wide – otherwise just do 2 or 3 at a time. Fry for 1–2 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden-brown. Transfer to a kitchen paper-lined plate and set aside while you continue with the remaining batter and oil.
Serve either warm or at room temperature.