Monday, March 9, 2009

CSA week 14 - Boscobel callaloo fritters

I got this recipe from, one of the places I looked at when researching callaloo patty recipes. It's written pretty vaguely so there was a good bit of room for personal judgment. You might want to compare the original with my version to see how you might want to make it. I don't know what "boscobel" means here. The only Jamaican connection I could find for the term was a Beaches Boscobel resort. Maybe the chef there came up with this recipe.

1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk scallion, finely chopped [or one spring onion, chopped more finely the farther up the stem you go]
2 tomatoes, chopped [no indication of size or type. I used three small Campari tomatoes. They're particularly juicy which is probably appropriate as there's not a lot of liquid in this recipe to moisten the flour.]
1 Tablespoon butter [The original recipe calls for margarine, of course]
2 cups callaloo, chopped [I started slicing at the top of the bunch of callaloo and stopped when I got enough. That makes the rest a bit harder to find a use for, but I think the leaves and thin stems are best suited for this recipe. I also went a bit heavy on the callaloo and light on the onion to keep the recipe representative of its name.]
2 1/4 cups flour [I used half white bread flour and half whole wheat pastry flour]
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
spices to taste
1 egg beaten

0. Wash the callaloo but don't dry thoroughly.

1. Sauté onion, scallion and tomatoes briefly, just until onions start to soften and tomatoes to break down. Add callaloo. The original recipe says to "steam for 10 minutes" and I decided to take that literally and lay the callaloo on top of the other ingredients instead of mixing it in. Then I covered the pan, lowered the heat and let it cook for ten minutes. I think the callaloo wilted well.

2. Remove from pan and cool.

3. Heat deep frying oil or at least 1/2 inch of oil for shallow frying if you prefer.

4. Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add egg to vegetables. Slowly add flour mixture to vegetable mixture until you reach, the recipe says "a medium batter". Small problem here as the mixture thickens into a dough after only 3/4 cup of flour. I checked other fritter recipes and this one is definitely missing an instruction to add water. I found I had to add 3/4 cup water to reach a not-too-thick, not-too-loose batter.

5. Check for taste and add salt, pepper, curry powder, jerk powder or whatever. I used a bit of curry powder.

6. Deep frying was a bit tricky or maybe I'm just not very good at it. I found it best to use quite high heat and Tablespoons of batter to make bite-sized fritters. Any larger and the insides refused to cook through no matter the temperature or how long they stayed in the oil. The high heat seemed to make them puff better so I settled on that despite any risks of burning. I also ended up cutting the early batches of large undercooked fritters in half and re-fried them which turned out tolerably well. But the later ones were definitely better.

Once I got that hang of it, the results are pretty nice. Crisp and chewy on the outside, light and a different sort of chewy on the inside. A subtle but distinctive flavor of callaloo coming through the fried dough flavors.

If I was more ambitious tonight I would have made some dipping sauces, but I just opened a couple bottles instead. The green stuff's not bad.


kat said...

Oh that looks fabulous!

Karen said...

Those do look good! I wonder if using all-purpose flour (lower protein, less liquid uptake) would have made much difference? Most fritter recipes I have call for less flour (by about half) and 2 eggs, often separated with the whites beaten and folded in late in the process, and also a rest of 30 minutes or so for the batter before frying. But if you get good results with fewer steps, that's a good thing.

billjac said...

I figure, since I used half pastry and half bread flour that averages out to all-purpose. I was more concerned with gluten, though. The amount of liquid was so far off I don't think just changing the flour would have a notable effect.

Letting the batter rest is probably a good idea. That may be part of why the later fritters came out better. I did consider separating the eggs too, but decided to follow the recipe as best I could to see how it turned out first. I'm happy enough with the texture I got, but if you like your fritters fluffy, you should beat the eggwhites.