Cheese Fritters with Savoury Bell Pepper jelly
Since sunday I have had cheese fritters twice, both delicious. First time was at a hands-on cooking class party to celebrate my dear friend Marilyn’s significant birthday. We gathered at the home of Sylvia and Ray, owners of Wine & Thyme Cooking School in Kelowna and for a few hours got our hands wet and prepared some lovely foods based on recipes provided by Sylvia and under her supervision. Sylvia is Cordon Bleu trained and has a large, well equipped kitchen in her lovely home overlooking the Okanagan Lake. Check her website for more information on her school. Sylvia gave us a recipe for cheese fritters with tomato balsamic jam and they were delicious. The fritters were made into small cakes and sautéed in olive oil in a pan. The recipe called for Feta, Emmental and Old Cheddar as well as some herbs and a bit of cayenne pepper. The tomato balsamic jam was made fresh from ripe tomatoes, onion, garlic, vinegar and brown sugar. I would have made the jam a bit sweeter but the entire dish was lovely.
The second time I had fritters this week was at the gorgeous Mission Hill Winery in West Kelowna. I had lunch by myself (why not?) at the beautiful Terrace Restaurant overlooking the lake and vineyards and it was spectacular. They really know how to layer flavours and every dish was a piece of art both visually and in terms of flavour. I wish I could eat like that every day. I ordered the fritters as a first course. The dish is called Croquettes of Happy Day Chèvre Goat Cheese and is served with warm new potato salad, soft boiled quail eggs, small fresh carrots and English peas. Oh-so-good. I enjoyed every bite and left nothing on the plate. The fritters were cooked into round balls, crispy on the outside with meltingly soft goat cheese inside. The only friendly comment is that the crust of the croquettes was a little hard to cut into but maybe it had to be that way to keep the creamy goat cheese inside. The suggested wine for this dish was the Mission Hill 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir at $13 a glass. For the main course I had the special: risotto with summer squash, spinach and thinly shaved pattypan squash carpaccio on top. The spinach was stirred into the risotto at the last minute and remained bright green and flavourful. Another success. The suggested wine was the Perpetua, a single vineyard Chardonnay with citrus, oak and nutty flavours at $17 per glass. It was worth it though as it complimented the food beautifully.
So after having fritters twice and loving both versions I just had to come up with my own, based on what I have tried. I am posting the recipe for small fritters that can be served as an appetizer (or make them larger as a vegetarian entrée item). While visiting Mission Hill’s gorgeous shop (OMG, going broke in there is quite possible), I bought a few jars of savoury jams and chutneys. One was this Jules + Kent Savoury Red Pepper Jelly that I am serving with the fritters. A delicious combination. If you do not have access to this particular jelly I am sure you can find something good at a good specialty store. You can make your own from scratch but there is room for using prepared products as well, if they are good and special. This product is so good and I believe is made in Vancouver.
Okay, enough rambling and now to the recipe for cheese fritters. Also: you can vary the cheeses and add herbs instead of just parsley.
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cream
4 oz feta cheese
2 oz Swiss cheese
4 oz Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup flour for dredging the fritters in before frying
1/3 cup olive oil for frying the fritters
Place flour and salt in a bowl, add eggs and cream and mix with a wooden spoon or a spatula until well blended.
Add the cheese and parsley and mix until mixture combines.
Have a plate with flour ready. After you form the fritters you will drop them into the flour to coat the outside.
Using a small ice cream scoop (I use the smallest, about a tablespoon in size) scoop out the fritter dough and place on the plate with the flour. When you have a few fritters in the flour pat them into cakes and coat lightly with flour on both sides. Arrange the flour coated fritters on a baking sheet lined with foil.
When all the fritters are ready place a little bit of the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and heat it to medium high heat. Gently lay a few fritters at a time in the skillet and cook until golden-brown on one side. Turn them over with a spatula or a spoon and cook to brown the other side. As they are cooked, remove them to plate lined with paper towels to absorb any extra oil.
Serve the fritters warm with the pepper jelly on the side. If you make them in advance they can be reheated in 350℉ oven for a few minutes.