by Mario Batali
Q: Mario, can you recommend a seasonal side dish for the holidays?
A: A vegetable recipe that tastes of the season but also embraces the themes of the holidays. The dish: salsify frittelle.
Salsify -- also known as the "oyster plant," for its somewhat oyster-like taste-- is a root vegetable of the dandelion family. The plant looks like parsnip or horseradish but is longer and slender. It has dark brown skin and white flesh and tastes somewhat like sunchokes or artichoke hearts. It can be boiled, mashed or creamed for a soup and is available from late summer through February. (Look for it at farmers markets, specialty grocers and markets such as
The literal translation of frittelle is fritters or pancakes. (In the northern Italian region of
Every Jewish household has a proprietary recipe for latkes.
In my Italian/French/Jewish house, I like to remove the potato entirely in favor to other tuber and vegetable bases.
In memory of the so-called miracle of lights, many
The true origin of the latke is from
This variety of salsify fritters is quickly fried in olive oil then baked in the oven to finish cooking. The earthiness of the salsify and the aromatics of the herbs make the perfect savory patty for the holiday table.
Like cotechino, the sausage traditionally served at New Year with lentils, the literal roundness of this dish also makes it perfect for a
Salsify Frittelle Latkes Recipe
Excerpted from "Molto Batali" (ecco, 2011)
Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish.
3 pounds fresh salsify
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 small fresh hot red chilies, cored, seeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh winter savory leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
4 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Peel the salsify and coarsely grate it on the large holes of a box grater. Place it in a medium bowl and stir in the garlic, chilies, winter savory, mint, eggs and flour. Season generously with salt and pepper, and then form the mixture into 12 medium patties.
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat until just smoking. Add the patties and cook until golden on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the fritters to a greased cookie sheet.
Place the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove, and serve hot or at room temperature.
Vegetable Side-dish Recipe, Italian Cuisine