Who: Chef David Perez
Chef Perez’s Guest-Worthy Recipe: Eléa’s “Kounoupidi Tiganites,” Cauliflower Fritters with dates and pine nuts
“What I like is that it is not something you would normally make at home but it will please a lot of people and it looks elegant. It’s also in peak season right now and it is a dish that is relatively easy to make, holds well uncooked, or can be made ahead of time and finished in a medium heat oven.”
For the cauliflower
6 c cauliflower florets (steamed & chopped weight)
1/2 c Half & Half
1/4 c water
1 1/4 all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2/3 c Kefalogravirera
1 tsp thyme (minced)
2 tsp mint (minced)
2 Tbsp chopped parsley (chiffonade)
1/2 c black currants
1/2 c pine nuts
For the vinaigrette
5 small sprigs thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 c honey
1/5 c white balsamic
30 Tbsp water
Bring to boil for 30 seconds and shut off, remove thyme
15 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
For the labneh
Steam cauliflower until fork-tender. Cover with ice in a colander and set aside to cool.
In a medium size bowl, beat the egg and whisk in the half & half until combined. Gradually add in the flour, spices, and salt, and continue whisking until a thick batter is achieved.
Add the herbs and butter and stir until combined. Set aside.
Chop the steamed cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
Fold the cauliflower into the batter until well combined. Set aside.
Pour oil into a cast iron skillet until it’s about a quarter-inch high. Heat over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is warmed, add a spoonful of the batter (two tablespoons per fritter) to the pan in batches.
Turn the heat to medium-high and cook until golden brown, about three to four minutes per side.
Remove fritters with a spatula and place on a plate lined with c-fold paper towels.
Toast pine nuts until golden (325 F for 10-15 min)
Add (1/2 c) black currants; chopped parsley, mint, & Thyme (1/4 tsp) each, (1/2 c) toasted pine nuts, to a bowl and season with salt and white pepper.
Drizzle mix with vinaigrette.
Labneh as garnish (be generous).
By Zachary Weiss