Sweet Potato Fritters

Creamy textured, but substantial – these sweet potato fritters surprised me.

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Sweet Potato Fritters

I was tinkering with new ways to use my favorite Beauregard sweet potato, and imagined that a fried patty of shredded sweet potato lightly bound with egg and panko might work.  But I was blown away by the creamy textured interior.

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shredded sweet potatoes, egg, and panko crumbs just before combining

It made sense to me when I remembered the high moisture content of sweet potatoes.  The flavor is straight ahead sweet potato, but the texture is moist and custardy on the inside, lightly crispy on the outside.

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fritters just beginning to fry

I served these with spicy pigeon peas and braised collards, and topped mine with Sriracha.  But the flavor of these fritters is so delicate that I’m planning a future dessert: top them with maple syrup and sliced peaches and whipped cream.   Enjoy!

 

Sweet Potato Fritters
(Makes 5 – 6 fritters.  Doubles easily)

1 medium Beauregard sweet potato, peeled and shredded (about 8 oz)
2 eggs
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/2 tsp. sea salt
5 TB good quality high smoke point oil for frying (I use avocado oil)

Combing all ingredients except vegetable oil.  Heat wide saute pan over medium heat until warm, then add the oil.  Using your hands, shape the sweet potato mixture into 5 – 6 patties.  They will not seem cohesive, but don’t worry — they will become a cohesive whole while frying.

Gently fry the fritters on medium low heat — about 5 – 6 minutes on a side.  Be sure to keep the heat on the low side so that the outsides of the fritters don’t get too dark.  Once the fritters are evenly cooked the interiors will be creamy and soft while the exterior is browned and crisp.  Serve hot with your choice of condiment — Sriracha is my favorite.

These fritters may be made in advance and frozen.  Gently thaw in the microwave on low power, then crisp in a 350 oven to refresh the texture.

Simple Asparagus Salad

This uber simple salad honors the fleeting perfection of one of the gifts of the Spring:  fresh local asparagus.

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Asparagus Salad

Raw asparagus has a tender crunch and grassy fresh flavor.  I combined it with complementary flavors:  parmesean cheese shreds, grassy olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper.  This recipe relies on the quality and freshness of two key ingredients:  asparagus, and cheese.  Buy a wedge of real Parmigiano-Reggiano, and shave or grate it only as you use it.  The flavor is much, much better than pre-shredded cheese.

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Asparagus

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Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

This simple recipe is a great example of my favorite way to cook:  get wonderful quality ingredients, pair with complementary flavors, and don’t over-do it.   That’s one reason why I seldom make salad dressings.  No need!  I like to let the main ingredients speak rather than hiding them with complicated dressings.  One of my go-to resources for developing new recipes is  The Flavor Bible.  It’s really fun for me to look up a key ingredient and get inspired by flavor combos.
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Here’s to making the most of our seasonal harbinger of Spring:  asparagus.  Enjoy!

Asparagus Salad with Parmesean
(serves 4)

1 big bunch thick stemmed, fresh asparagus
1/2 cup freshly cut Parmigiano-Reggiano curls
2 TB best quality extra virgin olive oil
1 TB fresh squeezed lemon juice
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
optional:  2 TB minced fresh oregano

Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice the asparagus steeply on the bias in thin slices.  Just before serving combine with cheese curls, olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt (to taste), and fresh ground black pepper.  Garnish with minced fresh oregano if desired.

 

Pickled Eggs three ways

I recently ate an amazingly delicious snack:  a pickled egg.

Pickled eggs three ways

Pickled eggs three ways: Lemon with black pepper, Sriracha, and Meyer lemon with fresh thyme

The guy at a local cheese shop where I bought it assured me they were “stupid easy” to make at home after I asked him how they had conjured such amazingness.  So I went home and tried my hand at making some.  They really are easy to make and customize to your taste buds.

clockwise from top left: Meyer lemon, black pepper, lemon, fresh thyme

clockwise from top left: Meyer lemon, black pepper, lemon, fresh thyme

The humble hen’s egg takes very kindly to a number of potent flavor combinations.  I offer you three flavors of pickled eggs, paying homage to my California roots:  Lemon with black pepper, Meyer Lemon with fresh thyme*, and Sriracha.  Enjoy!

pickled eggs with Meyer lemon and fresh thyme

pickled eggs with Meyer lemon and fresh thyme

Pickled Eggs
(makes eggs and brine for a dozen eggs)

12 large eggs, boiled and peeled
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
3 TB Diamond crystal kosher salt
Option one: zest of one meyer lemon and several sprigs of fresh thyme
Option two: zest of one lemon, 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
Option three: 1/4 cup Sriracha

Combine the vinegar, water, and salt.  Stir until salt is dissolved.  Pack boiled eggs and your choice of flavor options in a lidded glass jar.  Pour brine to completely cover the eggs and herbs, for options one and two.  For the Sriracha option, combine 1/2 of the brine with 1/4 cup of Sriracha before pouring over the eggs.

Store in the fridge.  It takes at least 3 days for good flavor to develop.  Eat the eggs within two weeks for best freshness.  The whites of the eggs will become firmer over time.

*Meyer lemons are common in California, and their scent profile is different from a regular lemon, and share characteristics with thyme.