Shiitake mushroom, cheese and basil Titters

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    6–8

    as a first course
    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes

Vegetables

By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

These fritters make a tasty starter served with a simple tangy salad – here I used rocket, raw shiitake mushrooms and radishes, tossed with olive oil and lemon juice. They are also great as a side dish, with a vegetable stew or curry as the starch component, and make a good canapé served with a dollop of pesto on top.

Ingredients

  • 70 g flour
  • 100 g polenta
  • teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ tablespoon ground roasted coriander seeds
  • 350 g thick plain yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • large handful of basil leaves, coarsely shredded
  • 12 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
  • 200 g firm cheese (try halloumi, feta, Cheddar or Emmental), cut into small dice
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Method

Sift the flour, polenta, salt, baking powder and soda, sugar and coriander seeds together.

In a large bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, 4 tablespoons of cold water, the olive oil, egg and garlic. Mix in the spring onions, basil, mushrooms and cheese, then mix in the polenta mixture. Leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer to 180°C. Scoop out a dessertspoonful of the fritter mixture and, using another dessertspoon, scrape the mixture carefully into the hot oil so that it falls off the spoon. Cook as many fritters as will comfortably fit into the fryer (they will expand a little) for 4 minutes, turning them regularly to make sure they cook evenly-all over. Remove from the fryer and leave to drain on kitchen paper in a warm place while you cook the rest.

Serve

As soon as all are ready, on a bed of leaves and garnished with slices of radish and shiitake mushrooms if you like.