We're not scared of making burgers / patties / fritters. It's just that historically, we haven't done them very well - more from an appearance stance than taste, fortunately. Armed with the exceptionally long list of tips and tricks (that appeared to make complete sense) our confidence level was raised.
None of the recipes seemed complicated nor time consuming so we thought we'd give two of them a go. Not wanting to stress ourselves out, nor risk the possibility of two failures in one evening, we decided to make one on consecutive Fridays as our lazy end of week stay in before heading out to misbehave on Saturday.
Zucchini, Prosciutto & Cheese Fritters
Ok... What does 'strong bitty cheese' mean? Seriously, what does it mean? Seriously!
We didn't bother with google and went with the sharpest cheddar we could find (based on the label...) because that sounded strong without being blue. Other than that, there was nothing complicated in rounding up the ingredients from our normal every day grocery store, but at assembly time we realized we'd used one ingredient in the previous night's dinner. We therefore, substituted spring onions for normal every day onion. Yes, we could have gone out on a one item shopping spree (and be back before the zucchini had finished dripping), but we already had our pajamas on...
- Grating, salting and waiting for zucchini to drip. Check.
- Frying of Prosciutto. Check, but hard from 2 fronts. 1. Never crisped it up before, just eaten it as it comes. This didn't feel right. 2. We ate some of it before it made it to the pan...
- Squeezing of zucchini. Check.
- Panic over missing ingredient. Decide pajamas are comfy. Find boring onion. Check.
- Everything in the bowl together, mix. Check.
- Break out the skillet, oil and heat. Check.
- Dispense mixture, cook, flip carefully, cook. Check.
- Consume. Check!
Pretty good. We kind of thought they would benefit from a sauce, but didn't have to have one. One of us tried them with a sweet marmalade type sauce (pre-made, tucked away in the fridge, sorry) which worked but didn't make them any better. The other with a chipotle mustard (found right next to the previously mentioned sauce, sorry) and was arguably a mistake as the feeling was that they were better au naturel.
As already noted, there were many tips provided. This one...
The secret is to wait for the the patty to naturally release itself from the pan surface then flip it over once.
...is the one we wish we'd actually heeded a long time ago and all being well, we'll never forget that it served us well on this occasion.
An 'interesting' bottle of Chardonnay joined in the party...
Basic Canned Fish and Rice Patties
We were given the authority to choose our own fish - well, own fish that comes in a can. We went with sardines...
We missed the part about needing rice, even as we prepared the very easy to round everything up shopping list. Therefore, we didn't have the opportunity to use the recommended day old rice. Also as we put our shopping list together we skipped the breadcrumbs as we have a panko or 'make our own' policy when they are required. We were pretty certain panko wouldn't be successful binders.
It's these two 'occurrences' that perhaps were the cause of our struggle to get good patties... Good looking that is, because there's no doubt they tasted mighty fine.
Everything in bowl, well most things in the bowl while we waited for the rice to finish cooling, but eventually everything in the bowl. Hands are good mixers so our designated get your hands sticky participant (the other delineated job was flipper, in case you care) mixed away. We thought we got it to the right consistency based on the ball test by adding a few extra breadcrumbs, as suggested.
Then we formed them into patty shapes by using a ring mold, but here's where things went a little down hill. We (ok, just the sticky fingers person...) struggled to keep the patty in a patty looking shape while applying the breadcrumbs. We ultimately got there, but it was harder than we think it should have been. We also managed to break a couple transferring from the counter to the skillet and a couple more during the flipping process (not because they didn't release - we learned that lesson well!).
Not pretty, not destroyed, but at least as many two and three piece patties as the preferred one piecers. But really tasty, a little crunch from the coating and little bit sweet from all the good things in the mix.
We're accepting the 'fresh' rice combined with slightly chunkier (and less stale?) breadcrumbs lead to our downfall. Oh well...
The fish and the rice and the spinach and all the other fun things made us feel ok going sauce-less this time especially since everything in our fridge probably wouldn't have been an appropriate pairing.
We had the urge for bubbles with dinner so we grabbed up a Cava we've had lurking for a bit too long. We enjoyed the wine and it certainly wasn't a bad match with the dish.
Recipes & Destructions Instructions
We had two satisfying meals!
Neither was hard to make. Neither was time consuming. Neither needed fancy equipment. Neither needed far flung shopping trips. All in all, a relaxing challenge!
We could see ourselves doing the fish ones again just for an easy evening in by ourselves (in case we break them again we'd not share with friends just yet) but we probably wouldn't do the zucchini ones as a dinner. We could, however, see them making a pretty good component for a Brunch when we've got friends over so we are actually going to keep both recipes safe.
Oh, and for the record, we didn't pick these two recipes because they were listed first in the challenge, just a happy co-incidence after we carefully considered all options presented.
ps. If you like you're wine, with or without your dinner, you might like to follow along with us (or play by yourself) as we document a project we've recently started. We're trying to get a hold of wines made from 100 different grapes. As with the Daring Kitchen, it's mostly about getting out there and trying something new and as we're relatively early in the countdown, both the Chardonnay, and the Cava contributed for us.
The Daring Cooks’ February 2012 challenge was hosted by Audax & Lis and they chose to present Patties for their ease of construction, ingredients and deliciousness! We were given several recipes, and learned the different types of binders and cooking methods to produce our own tasty patties!
Comments pre Blog Platform ChangeShelley C responded:
Great choices, and delicious sounding meals! It's always nice when the challenges offer a bit of leeway and come together efficiently and deliciously! :)
Susie Bee on Maui responded:
Glad they were tasty!
Audax Artifex responded:
I'm so glad that you liked the notes and information that went with the challenge. Always a joy to read the challenge results on your blog for some reason I can really "see" your efforts and the way you describe the recipes is endearing and charming. Yes the canned fish and rice patties are my favourite and the sardine version is extra special. A great success! Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.