Trust Hugh-Fearnley to know what to do with black salsify. When said vegetable turned up in my veg box delivery, it looked like some accidental packing of mud and roots alongside my beautiful red pepper and fresh fennel. Salsify really isn’t the prettiest of vegetables (but then again neither is sweet potato and that tastes like heaven on a plate). I found this recipe for fritters and decided that it had ‘bruncheon’ written all over it. Especially on a Saturday whereby my diary shows ‘downtime’.
Such an exciting prospect, downtime. I came to some slow and painful realisations: that if I didn’t actually diarise time for myself, I wouldn’t get it; that scheduling sleep is infinitely better than perpetually complaining of fatigue, and that rest is a necessity, not an indulgence.
It’s all too easy to be fooled into thinking that activity equates to motion; to some forward movement of our lives. But running on a hamster wheel doesn’t get one very far, it simply gets one very tired. And speaking for myself, running is an easy smokescreen I create to avoid looking at what I really need to, running is being too busy to take the actions that actually make a difference.
So whilst luxuriating into a restful and pensive weekend, I made these fritters. I’m not going to pretend they were quick and easy to make, nor that the washing, peeling and coarse grating wasn’t laborious. It was. But, oh so worth it. After making and eating these fritters, I lay back on the sofa and stared out of the window, for about an hour. I can’t promise the same soporific effect of the ‘downtime drug’ that these fritters induced for me, but I’m willing to bet that you’ll like them, they are just too awesome.
Black Salsify Fritters
A Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall recipe, adapted
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small red chilli, finely diced
3 tbsp finely chopped coriander
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbsp buckwheat (HFW uses flour)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Peel and coarsely grate the salsify. Warm some of the butter in a frying pan and sauté the salsify until softened. Transfer to a bowl and mix with the garlic, chilli, coriander, egg and flour. Season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using your hands, form the mixture into six fritters. Warm the remaining butter and the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and cook the fritters until golden, about four minutes a side. I love to eat this with bacon and homemade mayonnaise. Yum.