broccoli-tomato and shrimp fritters

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Shrimp fritters are a Jamaican appetizer and snack. At home, we eat them with hot Scotch Bonnet peppers cooked in the batter. I’ve added broccoli and tomato to the recipe; the broccoli adds crunch and colour, and the tomato adds colour and moisture. Without the shrimp, this is a vegetarian treat. Just increase the broccoli to 6 cups.

Broccoli Tomato and Shrimp Fritters

Yield: 11-12 three-inch fritters

12 ounces fresh broccoli (3 cups chopped)
500 g frozen and thawed shrimp, chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour
1 medium tomato, chopped and seeded
2/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (or mix 1/3 Parmesan and 1/3 Romano cheeses), optional
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (use more or less if you prefer)
1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, optional, OR
1 Scotch Bonnet pepper, finely chopped, with seeds for added heat or without seeds for less (optional)
1/4 cup cream or nonfat milk, more or less as needed to add cohesion to the batter
Vegetable oil for frying

To prepare the broccoli, cut the florets from the stems. With a vegetable peeler, peel off the tough outer coating of the stems. Chop stems roughly into 1/2 inch pieces. Separate the florets into 1 inch pieces.

Fill a large pot with about 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add about a teaspoon of salt to the water. Add the broccoli. Cook 5-6 minutes or until tender. The broccoli will be a bright green color. Drain the broccoli in a colander and rinse under cold water to set the color and stop the cooking process. Pulse the broccoli in a food processor 2-4 times. Broccoli should still be chunky and not too small.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the flour, tomato, cheese(s), garlic, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes or Scotch Bonnet pepper, if using. Add the broccoli. Use a large wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients together. Add the cream or milk if the batter doesn’t clump together when dropped from the spoon.

Cook’s Note: The tomato not only adds a pop of color but it also adds moisture to the fritter—a little trick I learned from my cousin Cathy!

Pour enough oil in 10-inch non-stick skillet to cover the bottom. Heat oil on medium heat until the pan sizzles when a drop of water is sprinkled in it. Using a 1/4 cup dry measure, scoop up the broccoli batter and carefully drop it in the hot skillet. Flatten slightly with a fork. Continue scooping, flattening, and frying fritters, about 3 at a time. Leave about 2 inches between each fritter. Fry on one side 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, then flip, and fry 1-2 minutes on the second side. Add more oil as needed.

Cook’s Note: Dip the 1/4 cup measure in water to ensure the batter releases as you scoop the batter into the skillet.

Transfer fritters to a paper towel lined serving plate. If the fritters won’t be eaten right away, they can be kept in a low oven. Serve these fritters with tzatziki sauce, lemon-garlic yogurt, or Sriracha-pickle mayonnaise. To make lemon-garlic yogurt, to one cup of Greek style yogurt, add fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to taste. For a garlic flavor, add minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For Sriracha-pickle mayonnaise, put a 1/3 cup mayonnaise in a small bowl with about 2 teaspoons chopped pickle (more or less to taste). Add the Sriracha sauce to taste. If you haven’t got Sriracha sauce, use any red hot sauce like Tabasco.

spicy sweet corn, zucchini, and ricotta fritters with fresh tomato salsa

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I was thinking again how much these fritters remind me of shrimp fritters. The first time I made them, I followed the original recipe. This time around, I changed things up. So I added more flour, lots of black pepper, and some fresh chilies. The chilies add flavor to the fritters, but if you want more heat, leave in the seeds. I like a tomato salsa with these fritters, and I prefer to make my own as the store-bought tends to be salty and sour. And fresh tastes better anyway!

Spicy Sweet Corn, Zucchini, & Ricotta Fritters (adapted from Taste.com)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 16-20 minutes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh ricotta cheese
2 cups self rising flour, plus more for thickening
2 1/2 cups fresh corn, about 2 medium ears
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini, about 2 medium
1 small green sweet pepper, seeded and chopped
3 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons black pepper, coarse ground
3-4 red chilies, seeded and chopped
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed

Fresh tomato salsa, for serving
Baby cos lettuce (romaine lettuce), for serving

Method:
Whisk milk and eggs together. Add ricotta cheese and blend well. Add flour gradually, blending it in, stirring constantly so there are no lumps and a smooth batter forms. Add corn, zucchini and pepper. Stir in the scallions, black pepper, and the chilies. Season to taste with salt. The batter should be thick. Because the zucchini springs water, add more flour as needed. Test it—the batter should mound when dropped from a spoon. If it doesn’t, add more flour a tablespoon at a time.

Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat until oil shimmers. Using a 1/4 cup measure, mound three scoops of batter into the skillet and fry until golden on one side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip and do the second side for another 2-3 minutes. If the heat is too hot, and the fritters fry up too quickly, turn down the heat a little. Do a second batch, adding more oil as needed. When you do, you will have to let the oil heat up again. Continue until all the batter is used up.

Drain fritters on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking tray. Serve with a fresh tomato salsa and baby cos leaves. Makes about 24 fritters.

Fresh Tomato Salsa (adapted from Eating Well)
• 1 large tomato, diced (or 2 medium)
• 1/4 cup scallion, minced
• 1-2 chilies, seeded and minced
• lime juice (half a small lime)
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Serving Suggestion: Serve fritters with Tzatziki Sauce.

low fat broccoli tomato fritters

broccoli-tomato-parmesan fritters

I had an indecent craving for shrimp fritters, a Jamaican-Chinese specialty, but I recoiled at the thought of using all that oil to fry them–up to a cup or more. However, I found this recipe for broccoli-parmesan fritters on the Smitten Kitchen blog and it satisfied my craving! After following the original  recipe straight through, I realized I could get away with making some changes.  First of all, I doubled the recipe because 9 fritters just wouldn’t be enough. Gotta have left overs too! Then I added a large chopped and seeded tomato to the batter, and a third cup of Romano cheese. The batter was a tad dry so I added up to a quarter cup of cream. But nonfat milk would do fine. You just need to add enough milk or cream so the batter clumps together. Lastly, I fried the fritters in cooking spray rather than in cooking oil to cut down the calories. The fritters came out luscious, moist and savory.

Low-Fat Broccoli Tomato Fritters

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 28 three-inch fritters (approximate)

16 ounces fresh broccoli (6 cups chopped)
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large tomato, chopped and seeded
1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup finely grated Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or several grinds of black pepper (add more to make it spicier)
1/4 cup cream or nonfat milk, or less as needed to add cohesion to the batter
Cooking spray

To prepare the broccoli, cut the florets from the stems. With a vegetable peeler, peel off the tough outer coating of the stems. Chop stems roughly into 1/2 inch pieces. Separate the florets into 1 inch pieces.

Fill a large pot with about 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add about a teaspoon of salt to the water. Add the broccoli. Cook 5-6 minutes or until tender. The broccoli will be a bright green color. Drain the broccoli in a colander and rinse under cold water to set the color and stop the cooking process. Mash the cooked broccoli coarsely with a potato masher. Broccoli should still be chunky and not too small.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the flour, tomato, cheeses, garlic, salt, and red pepper or black pepper. Add the mashed broccoli. Use a large wooden spoon to mix all the ingredients together. Add the cream or milk if the batter doesn’t cohere. It should clump together when dropped from a spoon.

Cook’s Note: The tomato not only adds a pop of color but it also adds moisture to the fritter—a neat little trick I learned from my cousin Cathy whose shrimp fritters are to die for!

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Heat the skillet on medium heat until the pan sizzles when a drop of water is sprinkled in it. Using a 1/4 cup measure or a cookie scoop, scoop up the broccoli batter and plop it in the hot skillet. Flatten slightly with a fork. Continue scooping, flattening, and frying fritters with cooking spray. Leave about 2 inches between each fritter. Each batch will include 6 fritters. Fry on one side 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, then flip, and fry 1-2 minutes on the second side.

Cook’s Note: Dip the 1/4 cup measure or scoop in water to ensure the batter releases as you scoop the batter into the skillet.

Transfer fritters to a serving plate. If the fritters won’t be eaten right away, they can be kept warm in a low oven. Serve these fritters with tzatziki sauce or lemon-garlic yogurt. To make lemon-garlic yogurt, to one cup of Greek style yogurt, add fresh lemon juice and lemon zest to taste. For a garlic flavor, add minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.