Saturday 17 April 2010

Dandelion Fritters and Wild Foods

I've recently moved house and only now am I getting a chance to explore my surroundings. However, a quick stroll along the local river revealed drifts of ramsons (wild garlic), carpets of ground elder and stands of Japanese knotweed. With dandelions coming into bloom and both hazel and whitethorn buds opening into leaf there is plenty for the wild forager to gather and consume. And that's not even mentioning the classic seasonal stand-by of young nettle leaves.

From a local field, yesterday, I was able to gather enough dandelion flowers for some savoury dandelion flower fritters:

Savoury Dandelion Petal Fritters

When fried, dandelion flowers are truly delicious and have a delicate honeyed flavour. For this recipe take the entire flowers home then strip off the petals just before you are going to use them.

petals stripped from 40 to 50 fully-open dandelion flower heads
1 large egg
250ml milk
150g plain flour
1 tbsp mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
50g butter, for frying

Clean the dandelion flowers (do not wash, as this will remove the flavour). Whisk the egg lightly in a bowl then beat in the milk, salt and flour to form a batter. Add the herbs and season to taste then set the batter aside for 20 minutes for the flavours to infuse. When ready to cook, strip the flowers from the dandelion flower heads and whisk into the batter.

Heat half the butter in a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat and when foaming drop the batter by the tablespoon and cook small fritters. Continue adding tablespoons of batter until you can fit no more into the pan (but be careful they do not touch). Check the first ones every now an then until they are cooked golden brown on the base. At this point flip the fritters over and brown then on the other side. When cooked a golden brown on both sides remove from the pan, drain on kitchen paper to remove any excess oil then transfer to a plate and keep warm as you fry the remaining batter.

Serve as a starter or snack accompanied by a sweet chilli or soy sauce based dipping sauce.

For more wild food based recipes see the Celtnet guide to wild foods and if you would like more flower recipes then please see the flower-based recipes pages.

Happy foraging and cooking!

For all the wild food recipes on this blog, see the wild food recipes page.

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