It’s that time of the year when everything is growing again, coming into flower, when the garden looks abundant once more. The flavour of this week’s recipe reflects this, celebrating one of the great taste combinations, asparagus and peas, which here is enhanced with the flavour of fresh dill and lemon zest. Asparagus has come into season now, so I like to take advantage because it’s not here for long. When those spears finally break the surface of the soil and grow to full height, they are way too tempting to leave in the ground!
Given the choice, fresh peas are probably my favourite vegetable. I have such fond childhood memories of hiding at the bottom of my parents’ vegetable patch in the summer sun, hidden behind the pea covered trellis. I would pick fresh plump pods from the intertwining stems, and pop them open, ready to devour the fresh peas. I have to admit that these days I mainly use them from frozen – but when they are in season I get them from my great local grocer. I find it relaxing to take the extra few minutes of time to hand pod the peas myself. But if time is short, this recipe works just as well with frozen.
These fritters are tasty served with a simple squeeze of lemon or lime juice. But if you want to dip them into something, I like a sweet chilli dipping sauce, or one made from plain yogurt (dairy or non dairy alternative) with a bit of finely chopped cucumber and mint stirred through. Makes my mouth water thinking about it!
Makes: 14 fritters, 8cm in diameter, approx.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Gluten free option, Dairy free option
1 bunch of fresh Asparagus stems, approx. 8
100g (1 cup) fresh de-shelled or frozen peas
100ml (1 cup) milk, (almond, dairy or soya milk) unsweetened
Zest of 1 lemon
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped or 1 tablespoon dried dill
100g (1 cup) flour, plain, spelt or buckwheat (the gluten free option)
2 free-range eggs
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Vegetable cooking oil for frying the fritters
Lemon or lime wedges to serve
- In a small bowl or jug, beat together the eggs and milk.
- Clean all the asparagus spears under cold running water. Then break the brown woody stems off the asparagus, by snapping them at the end.
- Place the prepared asparagus into a medium saucepan and cover with fresh, cold water. Bring the water to the boil. Once the water is boiling, add the peas, then immediately turn off the heat and leave the asparagus and peas to finish cooking for 6 minutes in the hot water.
- Drain the asparagus and peas in a colander or sieve.
- Take one asparagus at a time and cut it lengthwise in half and then chop into little pieces.
- Put the chopped asparagus and cooked peas into a medium-mixing bowl; add the chopped onion, lemon zest, and flour.
- Stir in the milk/egg mix. Combine well.
- Add a pinch of sea salt and a grind of black pepper.
- Heat a shallow layer of cooking oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat. When the oil is hot, take a dessert spoonful of the mixture and spoon it into the pan. You should hear a sizzle as they cook. Use the spoon to flatten the fritter down so they cook evenly. Add more spoonfuls to the pan, making sure you leave enough space so you can turn each one over.
- Fry each fritter for approximately 1½ to 2 minutes and then, using a spatula, carefully turn the fritter over and cook for a further 1 ½ to 2 minutes on the other side until golden brown.
- Lay the fritters on kitchen towel to drain away any excess oil.
- Repeat until you have used up all the mixture.
Simply serve up with a fresh leafy salad, a good squeeze of lemon or lime, or your choice of dip.