PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA/STYLED BY CATRINE KELTY
EACH BOWL OF BATTER WILL MAKE 4 PANCAKE-SIZED FRITTERS (USE ¼ CUP FOR EACH), 6–8 SMALL ONES (2 TABLESPOONS) OR 14–16 MINIATURE BITE-SIZED FRITTERS (1 TABLESPOON).
Using all three gorgeous beet varieties—Golden, Chioggia and Ruby Red—makes a rainbow of fritters, sure to win over even the most beet-skeptical at your table. Sure, stirring up three separate bowls of batter may seem like a lot of work, but the result is so pretty and delicious, you’ll want to give it a go. Serve them all together with a variety of sauces for topping; or, for an easy passed appetizer, make them in miniature to hold a pinch of crispy shredded beef or a flake of smoked fish, some chopped boiled egg or a dollop of horseradish sour cream and sprinkle of chives. This recipe works with any of the long-storing winter vegetables, not just beets: Try using black or watermelon radishes, turnips, rutabaga, kohlrabi, carrots, parsnips, even sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Feel free to switch up the batter seasonings, too: Replace the dill with cilantro and squeeze some lime at the table or use slivered basil and shower the hot fritters with grated Parmigiano Reggiano before serving. Once you master the technique, you’ll be making fritters all winter long.
How you grate the beets will determine the texture of your fritters: A coarsely grated beet will retain some of its vegetal crunch, while a finely grated one will blend with the flour and make a pillowy, fluffy pancake. I prefer mine a bit crispy, so I grate them in the food processor, producing a coarser result than if I use a hand-held box grater.
2 Chioggia beets, 2–3 inches in diameter, scrubbed, both ends trimmed and grated (about 1½ cups)
2 Golden beets, 2–3 inches in diameter, scrubbed, both ends trimmed and grated (about 1½ cups)
2 red beets, 2–3 inches in diameter, scrubbed, both ends trimmed and grated (about 1½ cups)
1½ teaspoons salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons fresh dill, divided
6 scallions, white and green parts slivered, divided
¾ cup all-purpose flour, divided
1½ teaspoons baking powder, divided
6 tablespoons ice cold soda water, divided
Extra-virgin olive oil, for cooking
Preheat oven to 250°F. Place each type of grated beet in a separate bowl and add 1 egg, beaten, to each. Stir to combine, then add ½ teaspoon salt, some black pepper, 2 tablespoons dill and 2 slivered scallions to each bowl. Stir to combine, then add ¼ cup flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder and 2 tablespoons soda water to each and stir well.
Heat a cast-iron skillet and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Choose the size fritters you’d like to make and go from there, cooking as many as you can at a time without crowding the pan, and transfer the fritters as they’re cooked to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven. Finish cooking the rest of the fritters, and serve hot.
Recommended for topping: crème fraîche and dill, Thai sweet chili sauce, Cholula or sriracha, applesauce and sour cream, horseradish whipped cream, beef gravy, chicken liver mousse or just squeeze some lemon over the top and call it a day!
Sarah Blackburn is a home cook, recipe developer, vegetable gardener and managing editor of Edible Boston. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org