Friday, June 3, 2011

Anna Sultana's Fritturi tal-Pastard - Cauliflower Fritters / Cauliflower Casserole, Maltese Style

June... time for graduations, weddings, Father's Day.

Time to feed the family.
Big time.

Yeah, I hear you.
You just get finished paying off Christmas, and now....

Okay, don't panic.
You've lived through June before.
You'll do it again.


Families in Malta face the same June crunch.
And Maltese sure do like to eat.

Maltese mothers live by two rules:
If you can fill their stomachs, that's half the battle.
If you can sneak in some vegetables, that's even better.


Cauliflower is usually cheap, thanks to being underappreciated.
There aren't any pics of kids chewing on cauliflower, as they would on a cob of corn.

Cauliflower is a low-calorie vegetable.
Weight Watchers mash boiled cauliflower and serve as mashed potatoes.
Well, they were low-calorie, until topped with butter and sour cream.
Nothing's fool proof.

There's a pattern here:
Cauliflower... Vegetable... Cheap... Low-calorie

Need I say more.


In June in Malta it's party time.
There's a hint of Fritturi tal-Pastard in the air.
That's Maltese for Cauliflower Fritters.

Let the festivities begin! 


                        Cauliflower Fritters

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Add 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cauliflower
Simmer 15 minutes.
Place the cauliflower in a colander in the sink to drain.

After it's cooled, separate into flowerets.
Discard the tougher stalk ends and the main stalk.
Mash the cauliflower flowerets in a large bowl.

Add
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 Cup chopped fresh parsley (1/8 Cup dried)
1 crushed garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (more or less)

Shape the cauliflower mixture into 1 1/2-inch patties, 1/2 inch thick.
Place the patties on a cookie sheet. 
Let sit about 15 minutes.

In a large heavy skillet pour
vegetable oil to a 1/2-inch depth
Heat over medium heat until a bread cube will sizzle in the oil.
(If it's not hot enough, they won't fry crisply.)

Leaving enough space between them, fry the patties, 
turning once, about 10 minutes.
Place the patties on paper towels to drain.
They can be kept warm in a 200º oven while you fry the rest.


The extra nice thing about Cauliflower Fritters is that the leftovers 
can be served as a main course.

An EASY main course.

In an oiled 9 x 14 pan I'd place the leftover fritters,
cover them with tomato sauce, 
then top with grated (or sliced) mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle with Parmesan (or Romano) cheese for a little extra oomph.
Pop in the oven at 350º for about 30 minutes.
Make a salad and dinner is served.

Looks like I've slaved away two days.

It's my secret.

Of course, it was Ma's secret first.

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