Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Swiss Chard Fritters with Creamy Mint Dipping Sauce
These fritters, called krefsiyeh, are from Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews by Poopa Dweck. This encyclopedic guide is full of childhood favorites (including a mouthwatering full-page photo of mjeddra), but also includes a lot of interesting dishes that are totally new to me, such as this recipe. (Also, the one for calf brains, which is interesting on a completely different, thanks-for-not-making-that-Grandma level). The classic Syrian flavorings of allspice, cinnamon and fried onions are delicious with the sweet chard, and we didn't modify the seasonings for these fritters at all. We did dairy it up with a sour cream-based dipping sauce that's totally optional for the lactose-intolerant reader, but a smashing addition if you want to throw these on your Shavuot menu.
Recipe notes: we used peanut oil (best for high-heat frying), and you'll want to drain the chard really well so your batter doesn't end up watery--try pushing down on the chard in a mesh strainer over the sink.
Original Recipe from Aromas of Aleppo:
2 bunches Swiss chard, stems removed
4 eggs, beaten
1 onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup vegetable oil
In a medium stockpot, bring 1 inch of water to boil. Add the Swiss chard, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the Swiss chard thoroughly and chop it.
Combine the eggs, onion, allspice, cinnamon and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well and stir in the Swiss chard.
Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil sizzles upon contact with a droplet of water, drop 1 tablespoon of the egg batter into the pan. Flatten the mound of batter slightly with the back of a spoon. Continue adding as many mounds of the batter mixture as the skillet will allow. Fry for 3 minutes, or until golden, turning once. Drain the fritters on paper towels. Repeat this process with the remaining batter, and if necessary, add more oil.
Optional Dipping Sauce from Aromas of Kale-eppo
1 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
Stir together and dollop on fritters!