Cheese fritters made with choux pastry, red onion, garlic, Dijon mustard and fresh basil – deep fried to crispy, oozy perfection. A decadent vegetarian appetizer or party food.
The one healthy element here is that I have made the choux pastry with whole grain flour. While I think that whole wheat flour would be detrimental to the texture of the delicate choux if it was being baked to fill with cream or such like, here it is being fried into a heartier, crunchy fritter and I think the flour works very well. Perhaps even better, as it adds another layer of flavour that stands up well to the red onion.
Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, with plenty of fresh herbs and alliums to contrast with the oozy cheese. A little squeeze of lemon on top doesn’t hurt either. Sounds like the beginning of a good brunch to me!
Cheese fritters with red onion
- 60 g butter
- 270 g water
- 150 g whole wheat flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 small red onion finely chopped
- 2 large handfuls fresh basil roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 heaped teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 30 g 'Parmesan' finely grated
- 100 g melty cheese I used a Spanish sheep cheese, cubed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- lots of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 litre frying oil I used sunflower
Stir the rest of the ingredients into the pastry base, mixing well.
Heat your oven to 150c to keep the fritters warm as you work in batches. Heat the frying oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan to 180c. It is very important to heat the oil to the correct temperature, otherwise the food will absorb excess oil (read more about this here). Drop heaped tablespoons of pastry mixture into the oil, being careful not to splash yourself. Any larger than this and the pastry in the middle will still be raw. It is not supposed to set completely, but should not be too liquid in the centre. Fry three at a time - any more and the temperature of the oil will drop detrimentally - until very well browned (about 5 minutes). Drain on paper towels and keep hot in the oven. Repeat until all the mixture is used up.
Serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
You may wish to reduce the amount of red onion a little if you're not a huge fan, as it doesn't really have time to cook inside the fritter, so will remain fairly raw. Just something to consider.
You can reuse the oil 3-4 times for deep frying - allow to cool, then strain and return to the bottle.