These fritters make a delicious snack. They not only taste awesome but they look amazing - dark and crunchy on the outside, bright green and soft inside! They're simple to make, and the spiciness just makes them work. This dish is best made with early season, fresh-as-a-daisy, pastel-green fava beans. Or you can use frozen fava beans - simply defrost them and pinch off the skins.
- 2.2 pounds fresh fava beans, in their pods (about 2/3 pound shelled weight) or 1 pound defrosted fava beans, skinned
- 6 sprigs fresh cilantro
- 1 bunch fresh mint
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 level teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 fresh red chile, seeded and finely sliced
- 1 lemon, zest and juiced
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
- 4 cups vegetable oil
- 1 small piece potato, peeled, optional
- 4 tablespoons plain yogurt
- A few handfuls mixed crunchy salad leaves, washed and spun dry
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Pickled chiles, to serve
Boil any larger white-skinned fava beans for 30 seconds, then drain. When cool, pinch their skins off - they'll taste less bitter if you do this. Now whiz the cilantro and half the mint in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper, and then add the spices, chile, fava beans and lemon zest and whiz until finely chopped (stopping once or twice to scrape the mixture off the sides). Sprinkle in the flour and pulse for a few seconds. Don't add any more flour or the mixture will become too dry.
Get a large saucepan and pour in the vegetable oil until it's 2 to 3 inches deep. Be careful - keep kids and pets away, and make sure the handle isn't sticking out so you don't accidentally catch it and spill the hot oil. Heat the oil. To check whether it's hot enough for frying, drop in the piece of potato - as soon as it sizzles and floats to the top, you're in business. Remove the potato and discard it.
Cover a plate with a sheet of waxed paper. Scoop up a small amount of the fava bean mixture and either use your hands or 2 spoons to shape it into little rounds, then put them onto the plate. When they're all done, carefully lower 1of them into the hot oil with a slotted spoon and fry until crispy brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. When you've got the hang of it, fry the rest of them - they should all fit into the pan at the same time but, if not, simply do in batches.
For the lemon minted yogurt, squeeze half the lemon juice into the yogurt. Pick and chop the rest of your the leaves and stir them in, adding salt and pepper, to taste. Dress your salad leaves with a squeeze of lemon juice and some olive oil.
Sprinkle the fritters with salt and serve with the lemon minted yogurt, the dressed salad leaves and some pickled chilies.
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