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Top Shelf: Spicy, Smoky, Zesty Falafels

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Top Shelf: by Chef Mark Godbeer

How often do we chefs/cooks/stews stand in front of our galley fridges, doors wide open, hoping for a lunch, dinner or hors d’oeuvres idea to present itself? I know I have, and probably will do again in the future. After weeks of charter or extended cruising — blame it on fatigue, idea saturation, lack of ingredients, etc. — sometimes we just need a little help.

Truth be told, this recipe is so easy I like to think of it as the help that has arrived.

Keep the “batter” in the fridge for up to a week and fry off the falafels when needed. Or fry them off and freeze immediately, reconstituting via a quick trip to the oven. Another wonderful attribute is that these are not only vegetarian, but they are also low in fat and high in protein and fiber. I’m all about the “healthy” walking hand-in-hand with the “tasty”. This is a perfect example of such symmetry.

Ingredients: 

1 15-ounce (425g) can chickpeas, rinsed

6 garlic cloves, roasted

1 red onion, finely diced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

2 lemons, zested

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. chili flakes

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. sea salt

3-5 Tbsp. AP flour

5-10 Tbsp. coconut oil

2 cups flour for coating

In a food processor, add the first nine ingredients. Pulse to a crumbly texture, scraping sides as needed.

Slowly add the flour, one tablespoon at a time, whilst pulsing. The mixture should become pliable and not too wet and sticky.

Wrap the “dough” with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour to tighten/bind the mixture.

Pull apart the mixture into desired size (I use a small ice cream scoop) and roll them in your hands. Press them slightly into small disk-like shapes.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the coconut oil to med-high.

Coat the disks in flour (seasoned if you like) and shallow fry until golden brown on each side.

Place them on an oven tray, season with salt, and keep warm in the oven whilst you continue with frying.

Now you are ready to rock and roll. I used my falafels for a wrap, accompanied with a red cabbage sesame seed slaw, fresh hummus, tzatziki and a sprinkle of feta. They can also be used as an hors d’oeuvre or even a starch replacement in a main meal.

Enjoy.

Mark Godbeer has been a yacht chef for more than 10 years (chefmarkgodbeer.com). His recipes are designed for the owner and guests. Comments are welcome below.

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