Rockaway Fritters (Nettle, Dandelion, Garlic Scapes)

I made these for this crab boil beach party hosted by Bryan Steelman in the Oregon coast town of Rockaway. Stinging nettle greens are available in the Spring; double the amount of dandelion greens if you can’t find them. More fritter recipes and fritter info at The Fritter Chronicles.

Ingredients

1 bunch stinging nettles (roughly a plastic produce bag full; after cooking, maybe a cup and a half)
1 bunch dandelion greens
5-6 garlic scapes (the curly tops; substitute 2-3 cloves garlic)
quarter cup, tightly packed, each of fresh oregano, mint, & flat leaf parsley
2-3 T salt-packed capers, rinsed and soaked in cold water for 15 minutes
quarter cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2-4 eggs
appx. half cup bread crumbs
salt
extra virgin olive oil for cooking
flor de sal for finishing

Par cook the stinging nettles in salted boiling water for about a minute (wear gloves or use tongs to remove them from the bag); when they’re cool enough to handle, squeeze as much water as you can out. Use the same water to par cook the dandelion greens, and squeeze them dry, too. You can save the cooking water for soup if you like.

Chop the greens into roughly half inch lengths. Finely chop the garlic tops, oregano, mint, and parsley; chop the capers coarsely.

Combine the vegetables in a bowl with the grated cheese and a pinch of salt. Add 2 of the eggs and half of the bread crumbs; mix well. Make a small ball to see how well the mix holds together. If it’s too loose, add another egg; too wet, add more breadcrumbs. It just needs to stay together enough to get it into the skillet. As the eggs cook, they’ll bind the vegetables together.

Use enough extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of a heavy skillet, and heat it until the oil begins to shimmer. Use two spoons to form walnut-sized balls of the fritter mix, then slide them into the hot oil. Flatten each gently with a fork, cook until brown, then carefully flip and brown the other side; cooking times may vary, but should be about 5-7 minutes total. Keep the oil fairly hot, but turn down the heat if it starts to smoke.

Sprinkle with a little flor de sal and eat hot (although they’re not bad at room temperature).