BRAND NEW BROCCOLI

Happy Wednesday to all! This is my last week of “summer vacation” before I start in as a full-time student in Australia, so I’ve been trying to cook as much as possible this week. However, with temperatures consistently around 35 degrees Celsius (that is high 90’s Fahrenheit!), cooking has become somewhat of a challenge. I don’t particularly enjoy standing over a hot stove in those temperatures. It basically looks like I went for a run and can’t cool down…it isn’t pretty.  Thank the lord for air conditioning. It has been my savior this week for cooking because without it, I may have served up cereal bowls all week for dinner, with a dish of ice-cream on the side! Hmmm…that doesn’t sound so bad! Note to self…that goes on the dinner menu next week  : – )

Anyway, instead of succumbing to the heat, I sat in the AC and searched Pinterest for some meal inspiration incorporating broccoli. Broccoli was on sale this week, and while we had steamed broccoli one night, I wanted to mix it up later in the week. Mix-it up we did! Not surprisingly, I stumbled upon a Pinterest recipe that I fell in love with. I adapted it slightly from the original recipe found on this amazing blog: Smitten Kitchen.  I feel fortunate that, thanks to my Mom’s healthy habits, I’ve always been a vegetable lover.  I rarely get tired of eating vegetable options like carrot sticks and dip, steamed cauliflower, green beans, summer squash, etc. But sometimes, I want something a bit more exciting. Enter in: Broccoli Parmesan Fritter Cakes. All you’ll need is one bunch of broccoli, parmesan cheese, flour, one egg, and a few spices for this winning side dish. So much more exciting than plain old steamed broccoli!

Broccoli Parmesan Fritter Cakes
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
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Ingredients
1 medium bunch of fresh broccoli (about 3 cups chopped)
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced garlic (or 1 fresh garlic clove, minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Several grinds of black pepper
Olive oil for frying
Cooking Spray

Directions
1) Prepare your broccoli by washing it under running water, and then chopping it into 1-inch chunks. Don’t throw out the stem, you can use it if you want (I did). To prepare the stems,  slice them into 1/2-inch lengths. You should have about 3 cups of chopped broccoli total once you’re finished.
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2) Now steam the broccoli until tender, but not mushy. I boiled water on the stove and steamed mine for 5-6 minutes. Once steamed, drain the broccoli and set it aside to cool slightly.

3) While the broccoli is steaming, grab a large mixing bowl and lightly beat the egg with a fork or whisk. Add in the flour,  parmesan cheese, garlic, salt and pepper, and stir it together.
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4) Then, add the semi-cooled broccoli and use a potato masher to mash the broccoli just a bit. You don’t want to completely mash it up, but the chunks should be small enough  so that you can press a mound of the batter into a fritter formation in the pan. Once you’ve mashed the broccoli a bit, stir the ingredients together the rest of the way with a spoon. Add more salt/pepper if necessary.
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5) Now heat a large skillet over moderate heat on the stove. Spray with cooking spray, and add one TBSP of olive oil and swirl around. Once the oil is hot and your pan is greased, scoop up a mound of the batter (I used a 1/3 cup dry measuring cup to help me form the fritter cakes) and drop it into the pan.  Then flatten it slightly with your spoon or spatula. Each scoop of batter should be about 2-3 tablespoons in size (mine were a little too big, so it made less fritters. The smaller the mound of batter, the more fritters you’ll get!) Continue to repeat this method with the additional batter, leaving a couple inches between each mound in the pan. Let them cook on one side until they are browned underneath, about 2 to 3 minutes, and then flip each fritter carefully and cook on the other side until equally cooked, for a few more minutes.
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6) Transfer briefly to paper towels to drain and cool, and then serve.
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We ate our fritters with ketchup as a dipping sauce, as a side dish with homemade pizza and salad, however, the sauce you use and whether you eat this as a side dish or main dish is up to you.  I bet a cheese sauce, ranch dressing, or even eating them plain would be delicious. The good news is, we had leftovers so I got to try these cold and on top of salad greens the next day. They were just as delicious. I hope you like this “brand new broccoli” as much as we did!

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