These unique bites are incredibly easy to make, and lend varied textures, lots of flavor, and a sexy vehicle for your favorite marinara, arrabiata, or puttanesca sauce. You can whip up the batter in the morning, then once dinner time comes around, you only need a few short minutes before the food is on the table. Mangia!
Serves 4 to 6
3 cups vegan chicken stock
1 cup semolina flour
⅓ cup vegan parmesan, plus more for garnish
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons vegan butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more to oil the casserole and for garnish
2 cups marinara, warmed
¼ cup fresh basil or parsley, torn
In a medium pot, bring stock to a simmer. Begin whisking the stock and slowly sprinkle in the semolina. Continue whisking 20 to 30 seconds until thickened, then turn off the heat, and add the parmesan and pepper. Fold in with a spatula.
Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish with olive oil, and pour in the semolina batter. Even it out with a spatula, and let it cool about 10 minutes. Then cover with plastic and chill in the refrigerator at least 1 hour, until fully chilled and firm.
Once chilled, cut the cake into quarters by cutting a cross through the middle, this will make it easier to slide a spatula under each quarter to flip it out of the casserole, instead of trying to do it all in one big mass.
Cut the cake into 2 ½ to 3-inch squares, rectangles, triangles, or rounds using a biscuit cutter, whichever you fancy. You can even cut them into little squares for an appetizer or hors d'oeuvres type situation.
It’s time to fry. You’ll probably have to do these in two batches, that’s why I divided the butter and oil.
In a wide skillet, add 1 tablespoon of butter, and 1 tablespoon of oil, and heat to medium. Once the butter is melted and the oil is shimmering, begin adding the cake portions. If the first one doesn’t sizzle when it hits the pan, stop and slightly increase the heat.
Making sure not to overcrowd the pan (there should be a little space between each cake), fry the cakes 3 to 4 minutes until golden, then flip and repeat. Briefly drain on a paper towel, then place on a pan or plate in a low oven to keep warm while you cook the second batch. Use the remaining butter and oil for the second batch.
To serve, spoon some sauce onto a plate in an artful fashion. Arrange ¼ of the portions on top of the sauce in an equally artful fashion. Artfully spoon more sauce atop the cakes. In a manner that could only be described as artful, drizzle the plate with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, then, as if you were an artist, sprinkle additional parmesan on top. Then, haphazardly throw fresh basil or parsley on top. Eat.
Vegan chef, cookbook author, and multi-media personality, Brian L. Patton. Just making good, old-fashioned food. You like food, right?