Chefs Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson of Los Angeles's Kismet make these freekeh fritters as a playful take on Italian arancini. To get the creamy-chewy texture just right, they cook the lightly roasted green wheat called freekeh risotto-style, adding the water gradually while stirring the grain continuously.
Slideshow: More Vegetarian Appetizers
3/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
5 pitted Castelvetrano olives
1 tablespoon salt-packed capers, rinsed
1 spring garlic bulb or 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cup cracked freekeh (see Note)
8 ounces chilled Taleggio cheese, rind removed and cheese shredded
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups panko
Canola oil, for frying
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the relish
In a small saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the peas until just tender, 30 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water; pat dry. In a skillet, toast the coriander until fragrant, 2 minutes. Pulse in a spice grinder until coarsely ground. In a food processor, pulse the peas with the olives, capers, spring garlic and coriander until coarsely chopped. Transfer the relish to a bowl and stir in the olive oil and lemon juice. Fold in the herbs and season with salt and pepper; refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Step 2 Make the fritters
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion, bay leaf and 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the freekeh and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains are toasted, 5 minutes.
Add 3/4 cup of water to the freekeh and stir constantly until absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add another 3 cups of water, 3/4 of a cup at a time and stirring constantly, until the water is absorbed between additions. The freekeh is done when it's tender and suspended in a thick sauce, about 30 minutes total. Discard the bay leaf. Reduce the heat to moderate and stir in the Taleggio. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the freekeh to an 8-by-8-inch baking dish and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Spread the flour in a shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper. In a second shallow bowl, beat the eggs with 2 tablespoons of water. Spread the panko in a third bowl. Shape the freekeh into 2-tablespoon-size balls; dredge in the flour, tapping off any excess, then dip in the beaten eggs. Dredge in the panko, pressing lightly to help it adhere. Transfer the breaded freekeh to a baking dish in a single layer and refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes.
In a large, straight-sided skillet, heat 1 1/2 inches of canola oil to 325°. Fry the freekeh balls in batches until golden brown, 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Season with salt and serve hot with the relish.
The freekeh and the relish can be refrigerated separately overnight.
Freekeh (pronounced FREE-kah) is a nutty-flavored roasted green wheat that tastes like a cross between brown rice and barley.
You May Like
Sign Up for Our Newsletter
Keeping you in the know on all the latest & greatest food and travel news, and other special offers.