PUMPKIN (or butternut squash) FRITTERS

recipe + photography by SANDY GARSON

This is a Turkish or Ottoman recipe that comes in very handy at this time of year because you get to use pumpkin or butternut squash in a novel and glamorous way. These are colorful, tasty thanks to the dill, and can be gluten free. Serve them for a holiday brunch with a side of bacon or ham and maybe a crunchy salad of dates, celery and red onion.

Serves 6 as a meal, 15 as hors d’oeuvres

4 cups peeled, seeded and grated sugar pumpkin or butternut squash
1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced*
1 cup soft ricotta or a similar spreadable cheese
1 cup chickpea flour (or regular white or fine-grain whole-wheat)
½–⅔ cup fresh dill, finely chopped*
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or ½ teaspoon aleppo pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to your taste
1 pinch ground nutmeg
2 extra-large eggs
1 cup corn oil for frying

*You can mince these two together in a food processor bowl, no problem.

Drain any liquid off the grated pumpkin.

Combine all ingredients but the corn oil, eggs last, in a large bowl and blend well. The mix should be reasonably dry, but add a teaspoon or 2 of whatever flour you are using if it seems too drippy to mold into a pancake.

Cover the bottom of a large frying pan or skillet with the oil, a little more than ⅛ inch deep—not too skimpy and definitely not deeper than ¼ inch. Heat the oil over medium high heat.

To make small bite-sized cocktail fritters, take enough mixture to make a golf-ball-sized ball, then flatten it with your hand into a small pancake. To make a meal-sized fritter, take twice that amount and flatten it into a pancake with a diameter of about 2½ inches.

Fry the fritters in the hot oil in batches so they do not touch each other in the pan and you have room to flip them over with a flat spatula. Add oil as you need it. Fry about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown with crisp crust. Fry for a shorter time if they are starting to get burned. Remove and drain on paper towels before serving. You can add a bit of chopped dill when you serve them.

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