Collard Green-and-Rice Fritters with Green Pesto
This super-Southern appetizer combines two of our all-time favorite ingredients—collard greens and pecans—into one stand-out dish. We use collard greens two ways in this recipe, incorporating them into both the fritters and the pesto.
These are not your Nana’s fritters. Made from a base of collard greens and rice, the fritters come together with eggs, shallot, corn starch, and Parmesan, combining plenty of earthy, nutty flavors. The rice helps to bind the fritters; any kind of pre-cooked, long-grain rice will do, whether it’s microwaved or leftover from last night’s dinner. Don’t be afraid to get a little messy: Mixing the rice-and-collards mixture with your hands helps to evenly incorporate all of the ingredients and break down the rice and collards. When frying, an ice cream scoop works well to portion out even quantities; it’s also helpful when dropping the fritters into the hot oil, as it tends to splatter a bit. The resulting fritters are very crisp, light and—unlike some potato-based fritters—not at all oily.
The parsley-pecan dipping sauce is sweetened with a touch of honey, balancing out the natural bitterness of the parsley and collards. It wouldn’t be a pesto without the addition of Parmesan, which brings a hit of salt and umami to this unique sauce. We’d eat this pesto on anything—it’d be great spooned over spaghetti or spread on toasted bread.
To make the fritters in advance, portion them out on a sheet tray and cover with plastic wrap. Then, when you’re ready to serve, fry them right up. These fritters make an excellent appetizer or side; serve them alongside the parsley-pecan dipping sauce with a crisp white wine. It’s a memorable, unexpected dish that guests will rave about.