Crispy on the outside and pillowy on the inside, these golden, savory fritters are the perfect starter or brunch dish. With a delicate eggplant flavor, deliciously balanced by smoky ham, this is the perfect gateway recipe for anyone who claims to “hate” eggplant. Try not to over-mix the batter as this will make your fritters chewy, and be sure to work in small batches while frying so you don’t overcrowd the pan. If you have trouble finding crème frâiche, you can easily substitute full-fat sour cream.
1/4 cup crème frâiche
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (about 4 1/4 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup finely chopped peeled eggplant (about 3 oz.)
1 cup finely chopped ham steak (about 4 1/2 oz.)
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (from 1 small shallot)
Prepare the Sauce: Whisk together all Sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
Prepare the Fritters: Whisk together milk and eggs in a medium bowl. Add flour and baking powder; stir just until combined. (Do not overmix.) Add eggplant, ham, shallot, parsley, and chile; fold just until incorporated. (Do not overmix.)
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Working in 2 batches, spoon 1/4-cupfuls of batter in 4 mounds into skillet, flattening each slightly after placing in skillet. Cook until browned, 1 minute and 30 seconds to 2 minutes and 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
Sprinkle fritters evenly with salt. Serve hot with sauce on the side. (If not serving immediately, keep fritters warm in a 250°F oven.)
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