Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eating the Pantry: Purple Hull Pea and Sage Fritters

The project continues apace.  Guys, listen to me: stock your pantry with plenty of dried pasta and dried beans and you'll always have something cheap to eat.  (She says, while mentally reminding herself to put a cup of dried canellini beans in the Crock-Pot tonight for tomorrow's lunch.)

Despite the fact that their name gives these little snackers an unhealthy reputation, there's nothing bad here.  The purple hull peas came from Mama L's garden and the onion is a Florida sweet.  Paired with a tomato-basil salad (both from Whitton Farms), they make a very nice, light lunch.

I've also made these several times before with variations--- the canellini bean-rosemary combo is yummy.  But the time I used lupini beans I couldn't even finish them because the beans were so bitter.  Is there any trick to taking the bitterness out of lupinis?  There's still half a bag in my pantry and I can't bring myself to chuck 'em.  Deborah says black-eyed peas are good, too.  Purple hull, black-eyed... kind of the same, right?

Purple Hull Pea and Sage Fritters
Adapted from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison

These are the original amounts the recipe calls for; halved, it makes about 10 little fritters

1 cup dried canellini (soaked overnight) or 2 cups fresh black eyed/purple hull peas
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup chopped sage, plus extra leaves for garnish (I used rubbed sage from Maggie's Pharm)
olive oil
sea salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 to 1 1/2 cups water
1 white onion, very finely diced

Place the beans in a pot and cover with plenty of fresh water.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.  Add the garlic, a few sage leaves, a tablespoon of oil, and 1 1/2 tsp salt.

Cook until the beans are tender (1 1/2 hours or so if you used dried; maybe 25 minutes if fresh).  Store in their cooking liquid until ready to use.

Place the flour in a bowl and gradually add enough water to make a thick paste, gently working the mixture with a wooden spoon.  

Add the beans, drained of the liquid, plus the onion, and the chopped sage.  

Mix together as well as you.  Cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes.  The batter should be pliable but not runny.  (It may not look very promising at this point.) [Loving Deborah for her parentheticals]

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Have ready an ovenproof platter and a plate lined with paper towels.  Heat 1/2 inch olive oil in a heavy skillet.  When hot, drop in the batter by spoonfuls.  Fry over medium-high heat until golden on the bottom, then turn and fry the second side.  When golden, drain briefly on the towels, then transfer to the oven to keep warm.

If you've got sage leaves, garnish with those, but I think these are delicious with just a little sea salt or kosher salt.

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