Random Recipes #8: Corn & Feta Fritters

After the success of last month’s Random Recipes challenge, in which the Small Girl thoughtfully selected ‘Great Ways With Steak And Chops’, I put her to work again to choose September’s recipe from a pile of magazine clippings and pull-outs. I confess, I only gave her a small selection to work with, for I am destined to become one of those mad old ladies who lives in a house overflowing with things she has cut out of the newspaper or scribbled down on the back of a phone bill. Whenever we move house (something we’ve tended to do every 12-18 months in the last six or seven years), I find more recipes tucked into novels or – worse – tucked into other recipe books. There must be a name for this – Compulsive Recipe And Cookbook Kollecting (CRACK) perhaps? Shall we start a support group?

The Small Girl pulled this out of a pile of papers tucked into the handwritten recipe book I made when I first went flatting. There’s a burn mark on the back (left it on the element, Wanganui, 2001) and all sorts of things tucked inside, including a tea-stained note to my 1996 flatmate Kim from her sister Kirsty (“Kimbo: put your heater on the clothes, hope you don’t mind, need some for tomorrow. Early night for me, you crazy partier”), a 100 riel note (Cambodia, 2000), a bank statement from a defunct account (2004) and lots of torn-out pages from Observer Food Monthly (London, 2005-2009). Oh, and the recipes…

Corn, Feta and Microgreen Fritters
I’d like to say the Small Girl chose this particular recipe because she loves corn fritters, but alas, she didn’t eat a single one. Oh well, I thought they were pretty good. Judging from the font and layout, I think the recipe comes from an old copy of NZ House and Garden magazine. The attached story talks about the benefits of cooking with ‘microgreens’, which were the next big thing a while back. Health benefits aside, I think using fresh herbs from your garden (or kitchen) would do the trick nicely.

1 cup flour
3tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
Black pepper
2 free range eggs
125ml soda water
2 cups corn kernels (1 can, drained)
125g feta, crumbled
1 cup microgreens (or finely chopped fresh herbs)

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper into a bowl. Add the eggs and soda water and beat until smooth. Stir in the corn, feta and greens and let stand for 10 minutes.
Cook spoonfuls in a well-greased pan over medium heat until golden on both sides.
Remember, as with pikelets, the first one will be a disaster while you get the temperature right. Keep subsequent fritters warm in a 120C oven while you cook the rest. Serve with chutney and more greens. Makes about a dozen.

Little fried fish

It’s whitebait season again, but we’ve yet to hear any reports from the Coast as to how its going. This isn’t unusual – whitebaiters are notoriously secretive, especially those who sell their catch without the knowledge of Mr IRD. Last year the Boy Wonder experimented with frying the tiny fish in a pan, Spanish-style, rather than binding them in traditional egg fritters. It was a great success, if labour-intensive. But last week he stumbled on an even better way – a sort of oven-fried version, made with a recent newspaper-wrapped delivery from Westport. The other thing that’s changed from last year is that a pound of whitebait (they only come in Imperial measures) used to be enough for two of us – now we have to share it with our smallest dining companion. That’s not a bad thing.

West Coast Whitebait Oven-Fried

Oven-fried whitebait
Excuse the Coaster-style description, but there’s no point giving this a fancier name (except ‘bloody good oven-fried whitebait’ perhaps). All you need with this is a crunchy green salad and a bit of baguette. Oh, and lots of lemon halves.

1 lb (about 500g) whitebait
salt and pepper
olive oil – about 1/2 cup

Defrost the whitebait and rinse under the tap to get rid of any grit. Drain well.
Preheat the oven to 200C and pour about 1/2 cup of olive oil in a roasting dish. (You may need more – the BW is a bit vague on exact measurements). Heat the oil in the oven for about five minutes. While it’s heating up, dredge the whitebait at a time in seasoned flour (shake off the excess in a coarse sieve.) Carefully tip into the hot oil and return the roasting dish to the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the little fish are golden brown and crunchy. Serves two greedy adults and one voracious toddler for dinner – so at least four adults for lunch.

Do you have a favourite way to cook – or eat – whitebait?