Smashed Falafel

Total Time:
1 hr 30 min
Prep:
30 min
Inactive:
45 min
Cook:
15 min

Yield:
4 to 6 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • Pan-Roasted Jalapeno Pesto Yogurt:
  • 8 jalapenos
  • Canola oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup 2-percent Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta
  • Pomegranate Tahini:
  • 3/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Tomato Salad:
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 3 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, finely diced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Falafel:
  • 2 cups soaked chickpeas
  • Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 to 2 serrano chiles, chopped
  • 2 green onions, green and pale green part finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Scant 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions
  • For the yogurt: Preheat a cast-iron pan over high heat. Toss the jalapenos in a few tablespoons of canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in an even layer in the pan until soft and skin is blistered. Remove the jalapenos to a bowl, and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap for 15 minutes. Remove the stems and seeds, but do not remove the blistered skin.

  • Combine the jalapenos, cilantro, parsley, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube until smooth. Add some salt and pepper and pulse a few times just to combine. If the mixture is too thick, add a few more teaspoons of oil and pulse. Transfer to a bowl.

  • Combine the yogurt and feta in a bowl. Gently swirl 1/4 cup of the pesto into the yogurt. Store the remaining pesto in a container with a tight fitting lid and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. This pesto is great served on grilled chicken or fish.

  • For the tahini: Whisk together the tahini, orange juice, pomegranate molasses and some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Hold at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

  • For the salad: Combine the olive oil, parsley, capers, tomatoes, cucumber and lemon juice in a bowl. Season the salad with salt and pepper, and hold at room temperature for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld.

  • For the falafel: Drain the chickpeas through a colander then place on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to absorb any excess moisture. Rest the chickpeas on the sheet pan until totally dry, a good 30 minutes, at room temperature.

  • Heat 4 inches of peanut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted into the oil reaches 330 degrees F.

  • While the oil is heating, heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chiles, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.

  • Transfer the chickpeas to a food processor, then add the garlic mixture, green onions, cilantro, mint, parsley, lemon juice, baking powder, coriander, cumin and some salt and pepper, and process until the mixture is finely ground, stopping to scrape the bowl every 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a bowl.

  • Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Using a small ice cream scoop, form the mixture into balls the size of Ping-Pong balls and place on a plate. Fry in batches until they reach a pale blonde color, about 45 seconds, spooning oil over the falafel balls constantly. Remove with a slotted spoon to the prepared baking sheet. Increase the heat of the oil to 350 degrees F. Return the falafel balls to the oil, in batches, cover the pan with a lid for 30 seconds and fry until a deep brown color, spooning the oil over the falafel constantly. Remove with a slotted spoon to the prepared baking sheet, and gently smash and immediately season with salt.

  • Plate 3 smashed falafel balls on top of some tomato salad and drizzle with the tahini for each serving. Serve the yogurt on the side to dip.

Soak the chickpeas in cold water for at least 18 hours and up to 24 hours, adding more water throughout if necessary.


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