In high school many years ago I was a fencing champion and was written about in the local paper- the Daily Freeman, which I once thought was so worldly and sophisticated. Everyone was always so impressed when I told them “I won the gold in the New York State fencing championships” as they made a show of raising their eyebrows and tilting their heads in slight surprise and perhaps awe, I would like to think. But of course it was all a joke since there were no other female contestants at this prestigious event. The organizers scoured the auditorium and found two bewildered nine year olds whom I was told to compete against as it was hardly ethical to present me with a marble mounted trophy for just sitting there. I swiftly put down my young opponents with one lunge and happily accepted my well earned trophy which I have until today. Last summer I visited my fencing teacher, Umberto and his wife Elene who also own a horse farm near the Ashokan Reservoir and who still practice periodically in the nearby town of Woodstock.
This is why my carrot fritters are truly the best- it is the only ones that I have eaten in my entire life, there is nothing to compare to them. I passed over the recipe dozens of times while leafing through my Kurdish cookbook but it seemed too simple to bother with, a typical amateur mistake as only quality produce is needed for a delicious meal. When I called my mother to ask if she ever had carrot fritters she told me that her grandmother used to make it often for school sandwiches. That would be a lot of fritters as she has six brothers and sisters.
The Best Kurdish Carrot Fritters (קציצות גזר)
Although carrots can be obtained in Israel all year, their flavor is undoubtedly better during the winter season.
5 medium sized carrots (about 2 cups), finely grated
1 onion, grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients together until homogenous. Create about 15 flat, round, fritters from the mixture, about 1 cm thick. Heat oil in a pan, enough so that it comes half way up the fritters. Fry fritters until golden brown, on both sides. Remove on to paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serve with labneh or yogurt. Variations: Ground coriander goes well with carrot fritters, either in the mixture or added in the labneh, try adding a variety of herbs such as parley and thyme.