The Fritter Chronicles

I blame my fritter jones on Faith Willinger. She’s an American writer, married to a Tuscan and living in Florence, and the author of Red, White, & Greens, The Italian Way with Vegetables. Still one of my favorite cookbooks, it includes a recipe for subrich (soo-brick), traditional Piemontese fritters that use egg and stale bread to bind vegetables lightly while they’re pan fried in extra virgin olive oil.

For a few years I made mostly nettle subrich (I eventually just called them “fried green things” after explaining “subrich” too many times; here’s my recipe), sometimes substituting other tender greens like beet or dandelion when I couldn’t get wild nettles. But I soon realized that the basic technique could be applied to mushrooms, corn, squash, and almost any other vegetable. Then I started adding grains like rice or farro.

Now I make some kind of fritter almost every week. Sometimes I’ll use leftovers (just a cup of leftover cooked greens makes a nice mess o’ fritters), sometimes I’ll pick up something specifically for fritters. My standard approach is combining about a cup of whatever vegetable I’m using with an egg, some shallot or garlic, a little grated fresh Parmigiano, and enough bread crumbs to hold the mix together.

I rarely measure stuff, so the quantities in the recipes are approximate. The bread crumbs will soak up liquid, and the mix will get dryer over time. Sometimes I’ll add another egg if it’s looking dry, other times the first few fritters are a little wetter than the last ones out of the pan. Your results may vary, so read the recipe disclaimer.

Here are some of the fritters I’ve been eating lately; check back for more.

Brown Rice Fritters with Ricotta and Ham

Mushroom Ricotta Fritters

Rapini Fritters

Stinging Nettle and Farro Fritters

Winter Squash and Polenta Fritters with Romesco and Creme Fraiche

Roasted Sweet Potato, Parsnip, and Farro Fritters