Chef Ivan Flowers
Last class I taught you how to make Pork Chop Scallopini. I hope you took the technique that you learned and tried using it on other cuts of meat. This week’s class I want to teach you how to make fritters. These are similar to the scallopini because once you learn the technique you can make endless varieties of fritters. This is also a great recipe for people like me that don’t particularly like to bake. This fritter recipe is so easy and delicious that I actually love making them. If you’ve never had a homemade fritter hot out of the oil you are in for a real treat. It is simultaneously light and crispy with just enough chew. Once you bite into one it virtually melts in your mouth. And as soon as you finish one, you find yourself compulsively eating another!
Before I get into the recipe I want to talk about what exactly is a fritter. A fritter is a fried food that is composed of some batter and has some bits of food in it. You can put almost anything in a fritter: meat, veggies, fruit, cheese, etc. So they can be made both savory and sweet. With fritters you have many chances to season them; you can season the batter, the food bits or both. A fritter uses baking powder, not yeast, to achieve its light fluffy texture so they are easy to make on the fly. The following recipe is for corn fritters, but I will give you some other recipe ideas later.
Let’s get cooking!
This recipe will make about 20 fritters. You can make this batter ahead, but please let it sit out at room temperature at least two hours before frying. This will insure that the fritter will cook evenly in the oil. You will need: one cup flour, one teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon sugar, one beaten egg, ½ cup half and half, one tablespoon melted unsalted butter, one can corn well-drained, two quarts canola oil, oil thermometer, large saucepan, 2 tablespoons, spider or slotted spoon, two large bowls, baking sheet, paper towels, spray oil, whisk, medium bowl, one teaspoon cumin and ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika.
First thing to do is in a large bowl whisk together all your dry ingredients: salt, sugar, flour and baking powder. Set this aside and in another large bowl whisk together your wet ingredients: melted butter, egg and half and half. Set that aside as well and drain your corn. I like to use the no salt added variety because that allows me to be in complete control of the seasoning. In a medium bowl combine the smoked paprika and the cumin. Toss the drained corn with the spices and set aside. By doing this you are adding a deliciously seasoned corn into your batter which will add another level of flavor.
Now add your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and using a tablespoon mix until just combined. Next stir in your seasoned corn into the batter. Do not over mix the batter or your fritters will come out dense instead of light and fluffy. Set aside the batter.
Put your large saucepan on the stove and fill with your canola oil. You want it to be about two inches from the top. Hook on your oil thermometer and set the stove to medium heat. You want the oil to be 350 degrees before you start frying. While waiting for the oil to come to temperature, line the baking sheet with paper towels. You will drain the fried fritters there. Also, have salt ready because you want to sprinkle them with salt right as they come out of the oil. Once the oil is at temp, spray a tablespoon with spray oil and use this to spoon out the batter and place it gently into the oil. The spray helps the batter slide right of the spoon. You will want to spray the spoon between each fritter. Fry only four fritters at a time so your oil temp does not drop. If you fry too many and the temp drops, you end up with greasy fritters. Fry the fritters about two minutes. You will know they are done when they are golden brown and floating at the top of the oil. Remove them with a spider or slotted spoon and place them on the paper lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with salt. Repeat this process until all the batter is fried. That’s it!
As I promised, here are a couple of other recipes to make using this technique.
Cheese and Onion Fritter. Use the same recipe as above, but omit the corn, cumin and paprika. Add into the batter one cup grated sharp cheddar cheese and two tablespoons finely chopped scallions. Now instead on draining these, you will be taking them from the oil and tossing them in a savory rub. So, in a large bowl combine: four tablespoons dried Chipotle powder, one tablespoon granulated garlic, the zest of one lemon and one teaspoon salt. The combination of the gooey cheese and the spicy rub is heavenly.
Apple fritters. Use the original fritter recipe omitting the corn, paprika and cumin. Plus add in ¾ tablespoon more sugar and cut the salt down to ¼ teaspoon. Add into the batter: unpeeled diced Granny Smith apple tossed with the juice of one lemon, one teaspoon sugar, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon and one teaspoon flour. Note when you add the apple to the batter, add just the apple pieces, do not add in any of the liquid that might have accumulated under the apples. You are going to toss these hot out of the fryer in a cinnamon sugar mixture! In a large bowl combine ¼ cup sugar and one tablespoon cinnamon. Toss the warm fritters until well-coated.
Now you know how to make fritters! These are fabulous alone, with a dipping sauce or even as an accompaniment to an entrée. Have fun and experiment with the recipe.
Remember, as with any technique or recipe, the most important component is the cook’s heart. The heart is what helps you create delicious meals you’ll never forget.
Chef Flowers has over 25 years of fine cuisine experience. The former Executive Chef at Top of The Market, San Diego, also owned Fournos restaurant in Sedona, Arizona, named a top 25 restaurant in Arizona. He was also Executive Chef at L’Auberge de Sedona, the AAA Four-Diamond, Four Star award winning restaurant. Flowers has created extraordinary cuisine for some of the finest restaurants in Arizona, including T. Cooks at Scottsdale's Royal Palms Resort and the Phoenician's Mary Elaine's and Different Pointe of View.