The Pea is there through all the seasons – in its pod in Spring and Summer, frozen year round. It grows up with us, from pea mashes to buttery steamed peas, from to risotto to fritters, and salads to soups. They can seem predictable and are often overlooked. But peas are incredibly versatile. Freshly podded peas are fantastic if they are eaten as soon as possible after picking; the rest of the time frozen will more than do. Peas are the ultimate vegetable, reliable, versatile and almost as good frozen as fresh.
These beautiful fritters are from Simple by Ottolenghi, and they are actually quite simple to make. A pea puree is mixed with za’atar, mint and feta, formed into fritters and fried. They can be served simply with a salad and lemon wedges, or with a yoghurt or cream based sauce for dipping. You can use any yoghurt or cream based sauce – I’ve included a sour cream and mint one below.
When we cook Ottolenghi recipes we feel free to substitute according to what is in our kitchen and pantry. In this recipe we have replaced the eggs with our usual chickpea flour based replacement for fritters – 1 Tblspn chickpea flour + 1 Tblspn cream or yoghurt + 0.25 tspn eno for each egg. We are egg-free in our kitchen. If you want to check the original recipes, you can do so in his books or in his Guardian column.
Pea, Za’atar and Feta Fritters
ingredients for 30 fritters to serve six or so, depending how you use them
500g fresh peas, blanched for a minute and refreshed (or frozen peas, defrosted)
3 Tblspn chickpea flour
3 Tblspn cream
finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
3 Tblspn za’atar
100g plain flour
1.75 tspn baking powder
200g feta, broken into 2cm pieces
800ml sunflower oil, for frying
sea salt and black pepper
mint and soured cream sauce
300g soured cream or use Greek yoghurt with small squeeze lemon juice
10g mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tspn dried mint
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl with a 0.25 tspn salt, mix well and keep in the fridge until needed.
Put the peas in a food processor, blitz until smooth, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the ricotta, cream, lemon zest, 0.75 tspn salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix well. Add the za’atar, chickpea flour, plain flour and baking powder, mix until just combined. The mix should be reasonably stiff. Then gently fold in the feta and mint, so it doesn’t break up.
Pour the oil into a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat. Once hot, use two dessert spoons to scoop up balls of the fritter mixture: they won’t be uniform in shape, but should each be about 4cm wide/35g. You will be able to fry about five or six at a time: carefully lower them into the oil and fry for three to four minutes, turning them once, until cooked through and golden-brown. If the fritters are cooking too quickly, reduce the temperature, so they cook right through to the middle.
Once done, lift the cooked fritters from the hot oil with a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and keep in a low oven. Repeat with the remaining fritters, and serve warm with the sauce (or lemon wedges) alongside.
recipe notes and alternatives
Halloumi can be used in place of feta.
Can be made with edameme or young broad beans instead of peas.