For a few years, I worked as a periodicals clerk at a public library. It was a pretty sweet job because I essentially got paid to sit at a desk and read magazines. My actual job was to retrieve magazines for patrons who asked for them because we kept all of our magazines in a back room, but since that didn’t happen very often, most of the time I got to do whatever I wanted. And I wanted to read magazines! At the time, I had just moved in with Chris and I was just learning how to really cook, so the cooking magazines were my favorites. Ever since then, I have been a total Cooking Light fangirl. No, it’s not strictly vegetarian! But it has lots of inventive vegetarian recipes.
I was looking for dinner ideas a few weeks ago and came upon a recipe for Crispy Broccoli-Carrot Fritters with Yogurt Dill Sauce in a recent issue of Cooking Light and thought I would try making the fritters with cauliflower instead of broccoli. And the sauce? I replaced that with a cashew-cream based Smoky Garlic Aioli. I love me some cashew cream! If you don’t have a mayo-aversion like I do, you can use mayo instead and make a more traditional aioli.
The smoky aioli is perfect with the cheesy, crispy fritters. And these come together super quickly too—from start to finish, they’re done in about 30 minutes. While the batter might seem like it’s not going to hold together, have faith because it will! Use your spatula to press each patty into shape on the skillet and then flip them over carefully.
4 cups water
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup raw cashew pieces, soaked for 4 to 8 hours
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the water, cauliflower, and carrots in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for 4 minutes, then drain well. Place the cauliflower and carrots on a few layers of paper towels and pat dry. Transfer to a cutting board and finely chop.
Place the chopped veggies in a large bowl; add flour and stir to coat. Fold in the cheese, salt, pepper, green onions, and egg.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, swirling to coat. Put the fritter mixture into the skillet 1/4 cup at a time, using a spatula to flatten each fritter into shape. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes, then carefully flip over and cook for about 4 minutes more. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil if needed.
Drain and rinse the cashews. Combine the cashews, garlic, lemon juice, paprika, and 1/4 cup of water in a blender and blend until smooth. If needed, add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the fritters.
This recipe makes a little extra aioli. Use it on burgers and sandwiches or as a dip for veggies. It will last in the fridge for a few days.
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