Celeriac & Fennel Fritters with Apple-Dill Raita

I have a special relationship to fritters. There was a time, when my family would do the grocery shopping on saturdays at the Winterfeldt Markt in Berlin Schöneberg. We didn’t just go there for veggies. No. Having lunch there was the most important part. A special lunch it was, only to be found there. At least this was what I believed when I came there as a child. It used be broiled chicken, that I was looking forward to and of course the crêpes of the locally famous French crêpe-man, who seemed to be coalesced with his little stall. Those were the nineties in Berlin – there was nothing like a food scene – so this market was really something special. And then, one day, a new stall run by a Turkish family appeared. There was already plenty of great Middle Eastern food around, but they served something, I fell deeply in love with: zucchini fritters. They were fried in large pans full of bubbling oil and simply served with some flat bread and tzatziki. I really don’t know what made them so special, but I’d always come back for them even years and years later.

In any case they introduced me into the world of endless fritter-possibilities. In Germany, there really used to be just one kind of fritter: the good old potato fritter with apple puree, which never managed to allure me quite as much. When I lately thought about things, I’d like to do on my next stay at home, my good old friend the zucchini fritter came to my mind. And so I have been experimenting over the last couple of weeks with different fritter recipes to shorten the time of waiting (there will be another lovely fritter recipe up soon). When I tested the recipe, I tried to bake these in the oven. It worked out, although I found them to be lacking the golden, crispy crust. If you rather want to bake them, brush your parchment paper with a little coconut oil, or the fritters will stick and tear apart when you try to turn them. (I baked them at 160 °C for 15 min, turned them and baked them for another 15 min). Also I actually used almonds instead of hazelnuts, because I had them at hand (but I think it would be even greater with hazelnuts). Feel free to swap the celeriac for other white root veggies, such as parsnip or parsley root. These fritters are a great way to make use of those last stored roots that you might have lying around at the bottom of your vegetable box. I found myself buying really quite a lot veggies on the market, when I came home I realized, how beautiful their shades of green looked together. Nature – you’re just the best.

Celeriac & fennel fritters with apple-dill raita (makes 10-12 fritters)

300g grated celeriac

1/2 fennel bulb (ca. 150g net) with greens

1 tbsp physillum husk

2 large eggs

3 tbsp haznut meal or leftover pulp form making nut milk 

1 bunch of dill

1 clove of garlic

1 tbsp fennel seeds

1 tsp nutmeg

black pepper, salt

a handful of hazelnuts (ca. 30-40g)

coconut oil for frying

Apple-dill raita

125g goat’s curd

125g goat’s yoghurt

1 tbsp lemon juice

½ tart apple (I like Boskoop)

small bunch  of dill

salt, pepper

Start with soaking the physillum husk. Place in a cup and cover with water (about 5 tbsp), let sit for at least 15 minutes until it has a gel like texture. Grate the celeriac. Trimm the fennel and set aside the fennel greens for decoration. Shave the fennel as thin as possible. You might want to half it crosswise – too large pieces will make it more difficult to form a homogenous batter. Chop garlic and dill. Roughly shop half of the nuts and roast in a pan without oil, add the fennel seeds a little later to the pan and roast as well. Place everything in a bowl and season generously with nutmeg, salt and pepper (I found that the batter is really ‘soaking up’ the spices, so be really rather generous). Stir in the physillum husk gel and the nut meal/pulp (3 tbsp should be fine, but you may add a little more latter, should you find the batter to be too runny). Separate the eggs. Add the yolks to your batter and whisk through. In another clean bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Stir the beaten egg whites carefully in the batter using a wooden spoon or a spatula. Place a pan on medium-low heat and melt 1-2 tbsp coconut oil. Using a tablespoon, place a dollop of the batter in the pan and form a flat round shape. Make sure the heat is not too high and fry on each side for 4-5 minutes. Place them on some kitchen paper to drain off excess oil and keep warm until you’re done with the rest of the batter.

Meanwhile prepare the raita. Grate the apple, chop the dill and whisk together with the rest of the ingredients. Top the fritters with roasted whole leftover nuts and fennel greens and serve along with the raita.

I served the fritters with a side salad to add a little more greens, but that’s just a suggestion.

Side salad

100g lamb’s lettuce

1-2 sticks celery

drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice

1 tbsp crushed pink pepper berries, salt