This dinner brought to you by the letter P
I don’t blame the Omnivore for his utter disbelief during dinner tonight. Afterall, if I hadn’t assembled the recipe myself, I’m not sure I would have believed me, either.
And, it is true, I’ve been known to pull a fast-one by the Omnivore. Conning him into thinking bulgar is actually cous cous… Failing to admit that there’s pineapple in his enchilada, putting vegetables in his frosting and his cake…
But the truth is although I may neglect to tell him about some ingredients, I certainly don’t LIE to him about them.
So he had no reason, other than the fact that the recipe surely is fantastic, to be shocked when he found out that dinner was brought to him by the letter P. P as in Potato.
Yes, that starchy root vegetable that we know and love. Bland and miserable until cooked in fat (french fries anyone?), or topped with fat (have you met the Buttertons?), or served in fat (pass the gravy).
Until now. Because I have turned the heavy potato into the lightest and fluffiest mouthful of wonder possible. So incredible that you wouldn’t know you were eating potatoes until told. So fluffy that they seem to literally fly off the plate and into your mouth. So delicate. Almost like those after-dinner mints that melt in your mouth. But without that mint flavor. That would be gross. Wouldn’t it? Maybe not. I’ll get back at you if I find out…
These basil kofta would be an awesome appetizer. You can pile them up on platters and, in the event that they actually make it out of the kitchen and to your party, guests can easily and neatly pop them in their mouth. No mess.
They are good with and without the cucumber yogurt sauce. They’d be good with other sauces, too. Experiment. Please. I can’t do all the work here. I need some support. I’m delegating to you.
Basil Kofta (makes 12-15 poppers, inspiration here)
2 medium red potatoes, about 12 ounces
6 ounces fresh basil
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes (sub parmesan cheese)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (orig. recipe calls for besan, you could use cornmeal, I bet)
coarse bread crumbs
Boil or steam your potatoes until very soft. Chop into chunks and let cool to room temperature. In the bowl of your food processor, add basil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse. Saute onion stovetop, adding spices towards the end of the process. Add garlic to the pan, take off heat. Add this mixture to your food processor. Pulse. Add potatoes to the food processor. Pulse.
At this point, the mixture in the food processor scared me. I thought I had screwed up. The original recipe called for “mashing” the potatoes. I had most defintely pureed them. And I thought my laziness got the best of me. My mixture resembled Bridget’s fancy schmancy potatoes. I was scared. But I forged ahead, knowing I had one more ingredient to add. One more critical ingredient: Vital Wheat Gluten.
Transfer mixture to a bowl and add vital wheat gluten. Knead to form a dough. Roll into balls and coat in bread crumbs. Line them up on a baking sheet like so…
Bake at 450* for 30 minutes, rotating every 10 minutes to ensure round ball-like-shape.
Cucumber Yogurt Sauce (Adapted from here and here_
1/2 cucumber, peeled and finely shredded
3/4 cup plain yogurt, strained in cheese cloth
1 T lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 clove garlic, smashed
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Peel and finely dice the cucumber. Place the pieces in a colander and allow the liquid to drain while you mix the other ingredients in a bowl.
Before adding the cucumber, blot it lightly with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Add it to the yogurt mixture and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour to allow the flavors to blend.