Neven Maguire's Mozzarella Fritters with Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce.
120g breadcrumbs made from day-old sourdough bread
2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp coarsely chopped rocket
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
25g plain flour
4 x 100g (4oz) balls Toons bridge buffalo mozzarella
olive oil, for shallow frying
For the sauce
- 1 small head garlic
- 225g ripe plum tomatoes, halved lengthways
- 1 large red pepper
- 1 ½ tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
- Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (375F), Gas mark 5. To prepare the sauce, cut off and discard the top quarter of the garlic head and wrap the remainder in foil.
- Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up on a foil-lined baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt. Add the red pepper and the foil wrapped garlic to the sheet and roast for 1 hour until the tomatoes are just beginning to char nicely, the garlic is completely tender and the red pepper is cooked through with blacked skin.
- Transfer the pepper to a bowl and cover with clingfilm, then leave to stand for 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and discard the core and seeds.
- Place the flesh in a food processor with the tomatoes. Unwrap the garlic and squeeze the roasted cloves from the skin into the food processor.
- Add the lemon juice, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and blend until smooth. This can be made up to 24 hours in advance and kept in a bowl covered with clingfilm in the fridge.
- To make the fritters, mix the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish with the parsley, rocket and lemon rind, then season to taste. Season the flour and tip on to a flat plate. Lightly beat the egg in a shallow dish.
- Tear each buffalo mozzarella into four pieces, then dust in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Tip in the beaten egg and then coat in the flavoured breadcrumbs.
- Arrange on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking parchment and chill for at least 2 hours to firm up or overnight is fine.
- When ready to cook, pour 5cm (2in) of the olive oil into a large pan or heat a deep-fat fryer to 180C (350F) or until a small piece of white bread dropped into the oil browns and rises to the surface in about 1 minute.
- Deep-fry the mozzarella fritters for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden brown. Drain well on kitchen paper. You have to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan.
- Warm the sauce in a small pan over a gentle heat and spoon a pool on to each warmed plate. Arrange four pieces of the mozzarella fitters on top to serve.
- The remainder of the sauce can be served in a small bowl at the table so that guests can help themselves.