I started to get all nostalgic earlier when one of my best friends sent me a picture from her balcony in Abu Dhabi. The sun was shining and I could almost smell the heat radiating through the picture. I don't often get nostalgic about Abu Dhabi, but when I remember clear days like that spent at the park, on someone's terrace, or at the beach, it reminds me that spring is a new beginning. And, one way or another, I feel it every year.
One thing that I love about spring is changing the wy we eat. It's too warm for heavy stews (although when baby comes I have plenty of them stashed in my freezer), but it's not too hot yet to cook. So, it's the perfect season for fritters.
Whether you like the Antipodean version where fritters are more like pancakes or the Mediterranean version where they are like crispy fried balls of things, fritters are always something I look forward to eating. If you make the fried ones and make them small enough, you can put them in a taco - top tip right there.
In Italy, they LOVE fried food. Especially as a street food. I remember going to Mercato Centrale di Firenze and I had THE BEST deep fried cauliflower of my life. This was less of a fritter and more of a cauliflower dipped in batter and fried til crispy. Buy my goodness it was to die for. Thinking about that made me realise I had a massive head of cauliflower in the fridge to use up. So I did.
I made my own version of fritelle di cavolfiore. And let me tell you, they are glorious. They are crispy, savoury, and you definitely can't have just one.
Fritelle di Cavolfiore (Caulifower Fritters)
1 large head of cauliflower (broken into very small pieces)
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tbsp salt
80g gram flour (chickpea flour)
Vegetable oil for frying
Pour enough vegetable oil into a small saucepan to deep fry the fritters. It doesn't have to be a lot, it just has to be enough for the fritters to be able to float. The amount of oil you use depends on the size of your pot. I used quite a small pot which meant I could only do two fritters at a time.
I would also recommend making these ahead of time and then heating them in the oven to crisp them all up again just before you serve. They will go cold while you're waiting for the rest to cook.
While you're waiting for the oil to heat up, place the cauliflower in a bowl and mix in all the dry ingredients. Slowly stir in the water, mixing very well as you go. You might not need all the water, you just need enough to make a light coating that will hold the fritters together as they fry.
When your oil is hot enough, use a dessert spoon (regular every day spoon) to gently place the mixture in the oil. Each spoonful will become one fritter. Do not overcrowd the pot or they won't cook properly and will stick together. Fry for 5-8 minutes until they are golden brown. If they are done quicker than this your oil is too hot. If it takes longer, your oil is not hot enough and the fritters will be greasy.
Leave them to drain on a wire rack with a paper towel underneath. Once they're all fried, cover them with a paper towel and leave them at room temperature until you're ready to serve.
10 minutes before you serve them, put them in a preheated oven (180 degrees C) to crispen up again and serve with a nice, creamy dip. Sour cream with chives is delicious, as is garlic yoghurt.