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.