Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Romanesco Floret Fritters in Beer and Honey Batter

My apologies in advance I absolutely love photographing raw ingredients. Narrowing down shots to be published is a tough decision. Take for example this intriguing and statuesque subject matter, the Romanesco. Every snap shot, and I took many, came out perfect. I have not altered and photoshopped the snapshots at all. My initial photos a couple of months ago, came out terrible, hence the delayed post with a new batch. I know some won't be able to relate but think of it like a baby or a pet in which whatever angle you shoot, you go aww, and are so very proud. I did write in the past how I connect with these inanimate subject matters, for me they come alive! Even if snapshots seem repetitive it has some degree of movement and changes in angle ever so slightly. It was important to me to showcase it and at least I didn't subject you to dozens of these two degree movements
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When I saw this vegetable at first, the connotation that came to mind was Jurassic Park and not necessarily the vegetation but the dinosaurs. I first saw this Roman cauliflower at Wegmans, it has a more delicate flavor than the sharper flavored cauliflower. Romanesco is a summer vegetable and I was lucky to snag the tail end of the crop around Thanksgiving. Wegmans showed some photographs of the Romanesco green peeking through a blanket of white, surviving a snow storm in NY. Funnily images of Jurassic Park didn't only cross my over active imagination but also Wegmans blog writer's. You can find some interesting information from Wegman's about sourcing out Romanesco crops to NY farmers here and a Pan-Steamed Romanesco recipe from the chain here. You can substitute any recipes calling for cauliflower or broccoli with Romanesco
Back in March this year, I came across a recipe I was mesmerized by from an Israeli chef and restaurateur, Erez Komrovsky, who I have written about his, second to none, intuitive cooking in previous posts. The recipe called for broccoli and cauliflower florets. You stuff the crevices of the florets with Kashkaval cheese, most affiliated with and known as a Bulgarian yellow sheep's milk cheese, but many Balkan countries are known for their Kashkaval.

One of my best friends in the army was Anat who is a Bulgarian Israeli, at her home I was introduced to Kashkaval and the culture of cheese. She was and still is the queen of quiches, she tossed some vegetables and cheeses together to make for an original, delicious quiche, without fail, every single time. While I was not introduced to it for the first time, I had marzipan in the oldest form of artisanship, brought from her grandmother's home in Jaffa, Israel, to her home in Reut, near Jerusalem. In the United States you can find Kashkaval in ethnic stores. I haven't seen it at Whole Foods or Wegmans but you can always substitute other yellow cheese you got handy at home. Parmesan and Manchego should work well. I made a few batches of this recipe some with cheese in the florets crevices, and some without.

What really attracted me to this recipe is the beer and honey batter. The crispiness of these florets as they come out still warm from the skillet is sensational. I meant to post it for Chanukah but the recipe is timeless and universal. It took me months from the day I scouted this recipe till the day I made it and it did not disappoint or let me down. If anything, I am amazed how it surpassed my expectation and made me realize even more so the originality of this recipe and chef.

Lael, of the Lael and Giuliano Hazan duo, of the famed Italian culinary world pedigree, was gracious as always and agreed for me to link to their Romanesco post Fusilli with Broccoflower. It will give you more authentic Italian recipe for this glorious vegetable. You can find Lael on twitter @educatedpalate and you can explore Lael and Giuliano's cooking school, cookbooks and recipes on educated palate website here.

Romanesco Floret Fritters in Beer and Honey Batter

Ingredients:
1 Large head Romanesco, cauliflower or broccoli, cut up to florets
Some Kashkaval, Parmesan or Manchego or any yellow cheese (optional)

For the batter:
3/4-1 cup beer
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
2 Large egg whites
1 Tablespoon honey
Heaping teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 Teaspoon salt
For frying:
Canola oil for frying (NOT deep frying although original recipe calls for it)

Directions:
1. Heat up oil
2. Insert small chunks of cheese inside florets crevices.
3. Mix dry batter ingredients in one bowl. Mix wet batter ingredients in a second bowl. Whisk dry and wet ingredients into one batter.
4. Dip florets into batter, shake off excess batter, and fry until golden on all sides. Take out with slotted flat spatula and drain on paper towel lined plate. I fried it lightly golden but you can fry it to a deeper gold hue.

Best served as the fritters come out of skillet and are still warm. Enjoy the crunch and the flavor!!

28 comments :

  1. this batter sounds perfect to fry just about anything i say! :)

    i love the idea of cheese being stuffed into the florets!

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  2. Thanks An!! It is really a batter like no other. You are first comment yay!!

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  3. Hi Shulie! Thanks for the mention of our Romanesco blog article. (http://www.wegmans.com/blog/2010/09/romanesco/)
    It's been a lot of fun to see the excitement around this "prehistoric" looking vegetable. What a neat idea to make fritters with the florets. And BTW- Your 2nd photo shoot was certainly worth the wait! Great photos : )

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  4. Thanks Margaret!!
    Thanks 'Wegmans' I think this year I have only seen Romanesco in your stores. Liked your informative article as well and was happy to include it!!
    Shulie

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  5. Shulie I have seen this Romanesco but never ever used it! Great recipe! love the batter recipe too!
    Lael & Giuliano are wonderful people and love there recipes too! :)

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  6. Hi Shulie, What a weird looking vegetable. I would never be brave enough to try something like this. Maybe now I will, it looks delicious.

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  7. I showed my son the picture and he said that it does not look that weird. It looks like fractals and it reminded him of the Fibonacci sequence and many things in nature follow these math concepts. :-)

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  8. Thx Sara!! Lael is always gracious!! It is very humbling! The recipe is so quick and easy it is incredible!!
    Anonymous and Shoshi, you just proved to us that there is hope in this world and what a great next generation you are raising:). Tell your son!!

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  9. I am going to love this for sure, Shulie! I grew Romanesco last winter and it was spectacular! This is so perfect right now.

    Missing your tweets and hopefully I will be back soon! Mwah!

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  10. Shulie:

    You are most gracious! I love the post, your photos are BEAUTIFUL! I'm glad I wasn't around when you made these, I want to reach into the computer screen and take a bite!

    Thank you for linking to our post. The Romanesco is a family favorite. To our 7 year old, regular broccoli (with which we sometimes make the dish) doesn't even come close.

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  11. Thx Annapet! I've been missing you!! Ooh you never cease to amaze me. You grew Romanesco and it is all organic too!! Love it!! Let me know when you try the recipe.
    Thx Lael!! It is lovely I can give my readers anothre recipe as an option. So...my pleasure!!

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  12. Your Romanesco looks so regal. Amazing photos! The fritters look so delicious. What kind of beer works best for this recipe? And what kind of honey, too? Lovely post, Shulie. And by the way, I love Lael's site, too, like yours!

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  13. That is amazing, Shulie. I have never seen this vegetable, and honestly? Your photos have me thinking of it more as a work of art, than food! Love this recipe, too - I wonder if we'll ever see Romanesco all the way down here.

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  14. Hi Jun, Thank you so much for your heartfelt comment, means a lot coming from you. Regal, eh?! You got a great command of the language as well as the camera my friend. Now it triggered images of the Roman Empire running through my mind:). The beer was Corona (just what we had in the fridge) & it was clover honey but you can use other beer and honey, whatever you got at home.
    Hi Renee, Thank you my feisty friend for the compliments!! First, again wanted to tell you how happy I am with your new .entrepreneurship endeavors. I hope you get Romanesco in South Florida but if you don't use cauliflower or broccoli instead.

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  15. Beautiful photography! Stunning Romanesco.

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  16. That batter does sound intriguing. Beer is always great for batter though, but the honey is a perfect touch.

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  17. Shulie: it ALL looks intriguing: the "raw" photos, the vegetable itself (which I am familiar with...and love), the batter and the final result! This vegetable is so versatile AND it makes a great centerpiece for a dinner table (Imagine 3-4 of them lined up in the middle of an all white and silver Xmas table...).

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  18. Your photos are stunning! I too have always been so intrigued by this unusual vegetable but you have gone beyond that curiosity and made it a star! Just beautiful! And I so love these fritters! Great recipe! I'll bet they were so tasty!

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  19. Thanks Jaden, Amelia, Pepy and Jamie! This was a second or third try and I am pleased with the way the pics turned out. Love the minimalist almost abstract quality to them. The veggie is delicious and Amelia, great idea using it as a center piece. I have never done it though used cumquats in the past. Happy Holidays!!

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  20. The beauty of the Romanesco is something to behold. It looks other worldly to me. I would have never thought to make fritters out of them but I love the sound of the cheese and of course, the beer-honey batter. Thanks for sharing this! :-)

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  21. that is one beautiful vegetable, a real beauty. Your recipe sounds delicious

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  22. Thank you Jean& Sarah! Other worldly indeed!! It is an awesome recipe let me know if you make it!!

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  23. love everything about this recipe Shulie - love the beer, the honey and the romanesco; love it!

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  24. You have a wonderful eye for photography! I can see why you had trouble narrowing it down to one pic. They are all gorgeous! I somehow stumbled across your blog and am so glad I did. I can't wait to try these fritters. Love the idea of the cheese stuffed into the crevices.

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  25. I have seen that in many cases that people can use a beer for making their food item more tasty. This is the classic idea which run today also.

    Australian Brewery

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