Normally, keftedes are made with ground meat (they're basically meatballs). These vegetarian alternatives are packed with flavor. Pre-roasting the carrots brings out their natural sweetness which is balanced by the salty, sour feta and Kefalotyri. Mint and parsley add freshness, with a hint of cinnamon for spice. Serve with Pomegranate Skordalia and Carrot Tabbouleh. These keftedes are just as delicous served cold.
12 oz carrots, trimmed and peeled but left whole
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, grated
1 cup feta, crumbled
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons dried mint
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Kefalotyri
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 free-range egg, beaten
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
all-purpose flour, to dust
olive or vegetable oil, for frying
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the carrots in a roasting pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and cook for 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of carrots) until al dente, turning them halfway through. Let cool.
Grate the carrots into a bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients, except the flour and oil. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for an hour to firm up. (The mixture can be made the day before and refrigerated until required.)
Shape into 16 walnut-sized balls, then flatten into patties and dust with flour. You can either shallow-fry them in olive oil or deep-fry them in vegetable oil. If using olive oil, heat in a frying pan over medium heat, add half the keftedes, and cook until golden on either side-about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining balls. If using vegetable oil, deep-fry for about 3 minutes at 350°F until golden. Drain on paper towels and serve warm with the suggested accompaniments.
From Smashing Plates by Maria Elia, Kyle Books 2013.
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