Kohlrabi Fritters with Crisp Kohlrabi Leaves, Lemon Crème Fraîche & Dill

The best part of this recipe is how versatile it is. You can make kohlrabi fritters one day, turnip fritters the next, substituting equal parts for equal parts. In winter, try daikon radish, rosy red Scarlet Queen turnip or even watermelon radish for a sharp, mustardy bite.

Add some shredded kale or chard leaves for good measure. In the springtime, use julienned sugar snap peas as the main ingredient; in summer, try corn or zucchini (squeezing juicier vegetables of excess liquid so the fritters stay nice and crispy). In fall, a sturdy parsnip or sweet, earthy carrot or beet can take the starring role, but all other ingredients will always stay the same.

Fritters are a one-size-fits-all vegetable side dish, or, if you’re ambitious, you can make them bite-sized and serve them topped with curls of smoked salmon as an hors d’oeuvre. For a stellar brunch dish, top any type of vegetable fritter with a poached egg and homemade hollandaise, and you have a far healthier Benedict than the classic English muffin version. All in all, a fritter is a great way to use up extra vegetables, introduce new ones to sensitive palates (who wouldn’t love a fried pancake?) and adorn your plate with a multitude of Brassicas in the deep winter freeze.

2 medium kohlrabi, leaves attached
About 1 pound total 1 small onion minced
1 bunch dill stems removed and fronds chopped
½ cup all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon organic cane sugar
2 eggs
½ cup or more club soda or water
Extra virgin olive oil
½ container Vermont Creamery crème fraiche
½ lemon, zested and juiced

Preheat oven to 200°F.

Remove the stems and leaves from the kohlrabi and strip the leaves from the tough stalks. Tear the leaves into bite sized pieces, dry very well with paper towels and set aside.

Peel the kohlrabi and grate them on a box grater or in the food processor; squeeze out any excess liquid (save it to drink, if you like) and put the shredded kohlrabi in a mixing bowl with the onion and almost all of the dill, reserving 1 teaspoon for garnish. Toss with your fingers to mix well, then add the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and sugar and toss again, coating the vegetables with the dry ingredients.

Beat the two eggs in a small bowl and add them with the club soda to the bowl, stirring to make a thick batter and adding more liquid if it seems too dry. Let the batter rest 2–3 minutes while you stir together the crème fraîche, lemon juice, lemon zest and some salt and pepper (to taste) for the topping.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet (cast iron works great here) and drop in spoonsful of batter, about 3–3½ inches in diameter. Flatten with the back of a spoon and cook until crispy on the bottom before flipping and browning the other side. Remove cooked fritters to a platter and store in the warm oven while you finish making the rest.

When all the fritters are cooked and resting in the oven, heat an additional 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet and add the torn kohlrabi leaves, sizzling them and crisping them up in the fat. (They will sizzle and pop in the pan; turn on your vent hood and step away from the stove!) Remove leaves from the skillet to drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the fritters topped with dollops of crème fraiche, some cracked black pepper, a pinch of chopped dill, and a crispy kohlrabi leaf.

This story appeared in the Winter 2015 issue.