I'm definitely having one of those weeks where, in the kitchen anyway, things are not going entirely to plan. We'd bought some Rowe Farms marinated chicken legs and threw them out thanks to a super strong funky fish smell.
Last time I checked, chicken should not smell like fish. Not amused, Rowe Farms, not amused.
So, we were left with my planned side dish: carrot cilantro fritters.
Remember how I was complaining the other day about my lack of photographic ability? I don't know that any photographer could have salvaged what these fritters looked like. I made two key mistakes early on. I started cooking before the oil was hot enough and then, I didn't let the first few get enough of a crust on the bottom. Consequently they ended up looking like... well... like a carrot slaw exploded all over the frying pan.
Having confessed that much, the mess was still delicious to eat, so I decided to keep trying to cook the fritters up.
I'm glad I did too, because, by the end of the whole traumatic experience (the kitchen still stank of that horrible fishy-chicken smell), I'd gotten the hang of it, fixed my mistakes (and tweaked the recipe) and was happily nomming away on the freshly cooked fritters as they popped out of the pan.
No more carrot slaw explosion.
Note: If you're not the patient type, do not attempt this recipe. You need to drop the food in and then leave it alone. I can't emphasize this enough. If you're like me and like moving stuff around in the pan and checking it every couple of minutes or so, this recipe will not work for you. You have to let these get a good, solid crust on before even thinking of flipping them over.
Carrot and Cilantro Fritters
(again, from good ol'Nigel)
2 large carrots, coarsely grated
½ small onion, finely grated
a hunk of strong cheddar (I used about 3 oz of Dubliner Irish cheddar), grated
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
2 heaping tbsp flour
1 palmful cilantro, chopped (if cilantro isn't your thing, use chervil or parsley instead)
neutral flavoured oil for frying
1. Squeeze excess liquid from carrots and onion, then mix together with cheese, egg, flour, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Batter should be thick and not runny.
2. Pour enough oil into a large, cast iron skillet to coat the base. Heat over medium-low. Oil is ready when you drop a test bit of carrot-batter in and a crust is created on one side in 3-4 minutes.
3. Drop heaping tablespoon amounts of the carrot batter into the frying pan 2-3 at a time. Let brown on one side for about 4 minutes. Do not attempt to move these babies before they've had the time to develop that crust. Once the crust is formed, gently flip over and fry for 3-4 more minutes. Remove from pan and let drain on a paper towel. Serve as they pop out of the pan.
A great meal for two of you standing around in the kitchen, drinking wine.