Tomato Fritters with Butter Beans and Feta

I like to imagine myself making these little fritters for lunch, padding about barefoot in the cool of a kitchen, my eyes not quite acclimatised from all the sun. Outside, the bleached walls and turquoise waters give out a stark and beautiful light. There is just a ripple of a breeze; we are somewhere in Greece and it is very hot outside. So transportive are the flavours and, crashing back to Earth, I can also just as easily see myself making these for lunch one day in Bristol, England. Radio on, maybe some Nina Simone. You’re welcome!

Taken from New Kitchen Basics by Claire Thomson (Quadrille)

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1 bunch of spring onions (scallions), trimmed and finely sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 600g (1lb 5oz) ripe tomatoes, finely chopped (regular or cherry tomatoes, or a mixture, are fine)
  • 120g (41⁄4oz) sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red or white wine vinegar
  • good pinch of ground cinnamon
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 x 400g (14oz) can of butter (lima) beans, drained and rinsed
  • about 100g (31⁄2oz) feta cheese
  • 1⁄2 small bunch of mint or dill, leaves picked and finely chopped
  • 150g (51⁄2oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra if needed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Put enough olive oil in a frying pan to coat the base and place over a moderate heat. Add half the spring onions (scallion) and half the garlic and fry for about 5 minutes, until soft.
  2. Add 100g (31⁄2oz) of the fresh tomatoes and 1 tablespoon of the sun-dried tomatoes, along with the vinegar, cinnamon, half of the parsley and the dried oregano, and cook for 5 minutes over a moderate heat to a thick, rich sauce.
  3. Stir through the drained and rinsed beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes for the flavours to meld, then remove from the heat and crumble over the feta cheese. Put to one side somewhere warm.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the remaining tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, spring onions, garlic and parsley together.
  5. Add the herbs and season to taste.Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl, and gently mix them into the tomato mixture, until you have the consistency of a thick batter.
  6. Heat about 4cm (11⁄2in) of oil in a large frying pan over a moderate to high heat. When the oil is hot, drop tablespoons of the batter into the pan in small batches and fry for about 2 minutes on both sides, until golden. Remove the fritters with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on paper towels. Work in batches, keeping the cooked fritters somewhere warm while you cook the rest. Serve with the still-warm beans. (Or, eat as you go!)