|Broccoli and cauliflower florets deep fried in light batter with tomato sauce|
Do you ever have problems getting your family to eat their greens? Maybe you personally are not the biggest vegetable fan in the world? Whatever your taste in and attitude to vegetables, however, hopefully you will find this incredibly simple but tasty idea worth trying.
Fritters and tomato sauce in Scotland generally of course means thick slices of potato, dipped in batter and deep fried in hot fat or oil before being served with tomato sauce or ketchup from a bottle. These fritters are very different, as is the tomato sauce with which they are served. Instead of using potato, I have used summer fresh broccoli and cauliflower, allowing these delicious and nutritious vegetables to be enjoyed in a totally dissimilar way from what would perhaps be the norm. The tomato sauce is made from oven roasted, fresh plum tomatoes.
|Conventional Scottish fritters and tomato sauce|
I started by simply blanching the cauliflower and broccoli florets in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Don't cook them for much longer than this or they will become too soft and be difficult if not impossible to batter and deep fry.
|Parboiling broccoli and cauliflower florets|
After a couple of minutes of simmering in the boiling water, drain the broccoli and cauliflower and allow it to steam off in the colander for five minutes. This gets rid of as much of the excess moisture as possible. You should then pour away any water which has accumulated in the pot, re-add the vegetables, cover and leave to cool completely.
|Broccoli and cauliflower florets are drained and left to steam|
These are mini plum tomatoes but you could use any type/size of tomato in the same way. You do, however, want to make sure they are fully ripe.
|Baby plum tomatoes|
Cut the tomatoes in half and sit them on a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. I also scattered over a pinch each of dried basil and dried oregano, just to add a little bit of extra flavour to the sauce.
|Seasoned plum tomatoes ready for roasting|
Put the tray in to the oven at 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2 for forty-five minutes. When they come out of the oven, the tomatoes should then be covered and set aside to cool.
|Roasted plum tomatoes|
The batter for the fritters is simply self-raising/rising flour, salt and cold water. Add the flour to a large bowl (about four tablespoons for this quantity of veg) and season with salt. Slowly begin pouring in cold water as you whisk with a fork until you have batter approximately the consistency of single (light) cream. Put it in to the fridge to rest for fifteen minutes.
|Simple batter for deep frying|
While the batter is resting in the fridge, you should pour the tomatoes in to a food processor or blender. Be sure to get all the juices and oil in there as well. Blitz until smooth then pour in to a ramekin or similar dish to serve.
|Homemade tomato sauce|
Your deep fryer or equivalent needs to be brought up to a fairly high heat for making the fritters. While it is heating, put the broccoli and cauliflower florets in to a bag with a couple of tablespoons of flour. I had to do this in two batches, simply because of the quantity in relation to the size of my bags. If you overfill, you won't get the even flour coating you need.
|Flouring broccoli and cauliflower florets|
Twist the bag closed, trapping as much air in it as possible. That is important. Simply invert a dozen or more times to get all the florets coated in flour. Do not shake the bag as this could damage the delicate vegetable pieces.
|Broccoli and cauliflower florets are sealed in bag with flour|
When the oil is hot, take the batter from the fridge. Working carefully but as quickly as possible, dip one floret in the batter at a time, let any excess briefly drain off and lay directly in the hot oil. Again, you may have to fry in two batches.
|Battered broccoli and cauliflower florets are added to hot oil|
Turn the fritters after a couple of minutes with a deep frying spider or equivalent.
|Deep frying battered broccoli and cauliflower florets|
Lift the fritters when done to a plate covered with kitchen paper and let them drain for a minute or so.
|Battered and deep fried brocooli and cauliflower fritters are drained|
The fritters were finally plated to serve with the tomato sauce dip and a brief scattering of parsley simply as a garnish.
|Broccoli and cauliflower fritters are plated with tomato sauce|