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Perfect Holiday Appetizer: Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate

Pretty and original cauliflower-feta fritters with pomegranate make for a perfect holiday appetizer with great wow factor this holiday season.

So I've had fritter mania for several days now and it hasn't left.  And I may have spread fritter mania to others.  I just had to try the cauliflower-feta fritters with pomegranate -- the latest post from Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen.  These fritters are pretty, seasonal looking and just delicious.  They were gone faster than you can say, "fritter."

Now I need to say a few things about SK-mania.  First, Deb Perelman deserves it.  These cauliflower-feta fritters with pomegranate are original and amazing, for example.  And they are just an example. 

Second, I am totally jealous that I didn't figure out this whole mommy blogging about food thing many years ago like she did.  I mean I want to be Deb Perelman—witty, great photographer, amazing chef, down-to-earth, just hilarious, COOKBOOK AUTHOR.  It's hard being a food blogger in 2012—almost 2013.  Perelman had to blog for six years before she was able to publish a cookbook. 

And let's be honest.  Cooking blogs are so ubiquitous these days.  It's hard to get thousands of people regularly reading your blog when there are many good ones out there.  I will say though there are many of them are not worth reading, let alone cooking the recipes. ... so you should keep reading mine :). 

Third, if someone does not give me the Smitten Kitchen cookbook for Christmas there will be mutiny (or I will be forced to just buy it myself).

Ok, now that I got that little rant out of my system.  Perelman provides good instruction on her website, but a few reactions from the new to fritters home cook.  They need to be nice and crispy to taste best.  Do not get impatient like I did on a few rounds.  You want them nice and brown.  A little burnt is better than just a little yellow. 

Additionally, I think they actually get more browned if you don't have too much oil in the pan.  I started with a little too much oil.  You need to use just enough to lightly coat the pan and then add it as you go. I would also make sure that you sufficiently smush (is that a word?) the cauliflower.  I had a few bigger pieces that screwed up a few of the fritters.  Do not worry, they were not wasted.  I served mini fritters to the kids (and the kid's grandpa) and they went too!

Finally, apparently you can make these ahead of time (through the fritter stage) and freeze these, which sounds like something I will be doing very soon.

One last word.  I have trouble not changing ingredients in recipes, but I sware that I intended to make these exactly as recommended.  But I forgot to buy yogurt for the topping.  I substituted sour cream, probably making a somewhat nutritious treat not so nutricious and also more caloric.  Oh well.  But the sour cream really worked well.  And it's the holidays so I am permitting a little decadence.  A little dallop of sour cream went a long way on these fritters. I'll try the yogurt in January.

Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate

Adapted from Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen


Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 45 minsServes: 8-10

Pretty cauliflower-feta fritters with pomegranate make for a perfect holiday appetizer.

Ingredients

  • 1 small head cauliflower (1 pound florets, i.e. stems and leaves removed), cut into generous 1 to 2 inch chunks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Few gratings of fresh lemon zest
  • 3 ounces crumbled feta (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes; less if using regular red pepper flakes, which are hotter
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Topping
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (or yogurt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful pomegranate arils

Instructions

  1. Cook cauliflower in simmering salted water, uncovered, until tender, about 5 to 6 minutes, until firm but tender.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain well. Spread on towels to dry as much as possible.
  3. In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together egg, garlic and lemon zest.
  4. Add cauliflower florets and mash with a potato masher until they’re crushed into an average of pea-sized pieces (i.e. some will be bigger, some smaller, but most will be little nubs).
  5. Sprinkle in feta and stir to combine egg mixture, cauliflower and feta.
  6. In a small dish, whisk flour, salt, pepper and baking powder until evenly combined. Sprinkle over cauliflower batter and stir just until combined.
  7. Heat oven to 200 degrees and place a tray inside.
  8. On the stove, heat a large, heavy skillet over moderate heat. Once hot, add a good slick of oil, about 2 to 3 tablespoons. Once the oil is hot (you can test it by flicking a droplet of water into it; it should hiss and sputter), scoop a two tablespoon-size mound of the batter and drop it into the pan, then flatten it slightly with your spoon or spatula.
  9. Repeat with additional batter, leaving a couple inches between each. Once brown underneath, about 2 to 3 minutes, flip each fritter and cook on the other side until equally golden, about another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer briefly to paper towels to drain, then the tray in the oven to keep them warm until needed.
  10. Once all fritters are cooked, mix yogurt with cumin, salt and pepper. Spread fritters on serving platter. Dollop each with cumin yogurt and sprinkle with pomegranate arils.
  11. Do ahead: Fritters both freeze and reheat well. To warm and recrisp them, lay them on a tray and toast them at 400 degrees in the oven until crisp again.


Julie du Pont is a Darien resident, mom and lawyer.  She blogs about food and entertaining at weekend table. See also the "Darien Food Blogs" and "Darien Food & Drink" topics page.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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