Frituras de Zanahoria / Fried Carrots, 1975
This vegetarian recipe from the 1970s places carrots at center-stage. While fried patties may not be the healthiest way of consuming this stand-by vegetable, they do make a change from the ever-present raw carrot stick.
Out of curiosity, I decided to find out a little bit about the history of carrots. Did they come from the old world or the new? When did they become common at the dinner table?
According to An A-Z of Food and Drink from Oxford University Press, carrots were present and already-domesticated in the Mediterranean during the time of the Ancient Greeks. In fact “carrot” comes from the Greek “kartón.” However, the carrots eaten by Pythagoras and Socrates would have been tough, yellowish roots. The roots of the orange carrot we know today are believed to lie in Afghanistan where a purple variety was cultivated in the 7th century AD. Gradually carried westward by the Arabs, orange carrots entered northern Europe through Spain during the period of Arab rule and cultural influence (from the 8th to the 15th centuries). Carrots crossed the channel from France to England in the early 16th century. At about the same time, carrots arrived the New World with the Spanish, along with garlic, turnips, eggplants, and lentils (Cambridge World History of Food 1251).
Vidal, Patricia, Faustina. Cocina Vegetariana Mexicana. México : México : Editora y Distribuidora Mexicana, 1975. P. 19. [TX716 .M4 V53 1975]
Frituras de Zanahoria
Revuélvanse con una yema 100 gramos de zanahoria cruda rallada y tanta harina de trigo como se necesite para formar una pasta dura. Tómense porciones con una cuchara, densele forma de tortas y fríanse hasta que adquieran un color obscuro.
Combine one egg yolk and 100 grams of grated raw carrot and as much flour as needed to form a durable paste. Spoon out portions to form into little cakes and fry until darkened.
In the kitchen…
I used the following:
2 medium-size carrots, peeled and grated
1 egg yolk
about 1/3 cup. flour.
I also floured my hands while making the patties, so this added a little more starch to the mix.
I heated about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat and fried the patties for about 3 minutes on each side, until beginning to turn brown and crispy.
These carrot patties looked very pretty and orange, but just by themselves they were a little bland. I think next time, I would add something more to the mix. Maybe some onion, chiles, and chopped cilantro. Alternatively, I might try using more flavorful carrots, fresh from the garden (if available) or an heirloom variety.
Super, John C. and Luis Alberto Vargas. “Mexico and Highland Central America” Cambridge World History of Food. Ed. Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge, 2000. P. 1248-1254.
“carrot” An A-Z of Food and Drink. Ed. John Ayto. Oxford university Press, 2002. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. University of Texas – San Antonio. 9 September 2011