Spring Pea & Mint Vegetable Fritters

Makes 12 half-dollar-size fritters

Ingredients1 quart water1 teaspoon plus more kosher salt

1 cup fresh English peas1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely diced carrots1/4 cup minced red onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic1 green onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

1 teaspoon finely chopped Italian parsley

1/2 teaspoon coriander1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder2 to 3 grinds black pepper

2 eggs, separated1/4 cup chickpea flour

Vegetable oil for fryingDirections

Prepare an ice bath by filling a bowl with equal parts of ice and water. Put 1 quart of water and a pinch of the salt in a saucepan and bring them to a boil over high heat. Add the peas and cook them for about 2 minutes, or until partially cooked. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the water.

Drain peas. Place peas in the ice bath to stop them from cooking further. Drain. Place half the peas in a container. Puree the other half of peas in a food processor with the reserved water. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until they are soft. Place them in a bowl. Add the pea puree, green onion, mint, parsley, coriander, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the egg yolks. Mix well. Stir in the chickpea flour and refrigerate the batter for 20 minutes.

Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer with a whip attachment until soft peaks appear. Fold the whites into batter. Heat 1 to 2 cups of vegetable oil in a cast-iron skillet or deep fryer to 350 degrees. Working in batches so that you do not crowd the fritters, and using a slotted spoon, spoon up some of the batter and lay into hot oil. Fry the fritters for about 1 minute on each side, or until golden brown and crisp on each side. Remove fritters by using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve immediately.

Chef Michael Carmel, department head, Culinary Institute of Charleston