Perhaps the most iconic of all Rhode Island-born dishes, the clam cake can be done vegetarian as well.
Chef Nick Rabar’s playful rendition keeps its authentic Rhode Island roots but makes it accessible to our country’s growing vegetarian population. These beignets, or fritters, are soft and tender, because the dough is well aerated. The addition of cayenne pepper brings a soft bite to the mild eggplant, creating a winning combination.
This new and improved vegetarian version of clam cakes could soon surpass its original roots, to become a new party favorite.
1 small eggplant
2 scallions, thinly cut on the bias
1 roasted garlic bulb
3 eggs, beaten
11/2 cup whole milk
2 teaspoon baking powder
31/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon pinch salt
Oil for frying as needed
1. Peel, finely dice and oven roast the eggplant. Brush each half thoroughly with olive oil and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until soft.
2. In a mixing bowl add flour, baking powder, paprika, cayenne pepper and salt. Whisk together to aerate.
3. Add eggs and milk and fold in until it reaches a dough consistency.
4. Add eggplant, scallion and roasted garlic. Allow the mixture to rest for 15 minutes.
5. In a 4-quart saucepan, add 2 quarts of oil and heat until 350 degrees.
6. Using a 2-ounce ice cream scoop, fill scoop halfway with mixture and drop into hot oil. While cooking, turn them over occasionally to cook evenly on both sides.
7. The total cooking time should be about 5 minutes or until the fritters have reached a deep golden brown.
8. Serve with remoulade or tartar sauce.
Recipe courtesy of Nick Rabar,nickrabar-chef2go.com, 2013.