Elderflower Chive Fritters

A savory twist on a wild spring treat.

Elderflower Chive Fritters
Chives provide brightness without overpowering the elderflower.

Chives provide brightness without overpowering the elderflower.

As I've mentioned before, I love elderflower and feel a strong connection to the elder tree. Until recently however, the only things I've ever had made with elderflower have been using a sweet cordial. So when I saw a few recipes for elderflower fritters using the whole flower, I was immediately intrigued and wanted to attempt a savory version. The batter contains lemon zest and chives, because I felt that these would add some zest and complexity without overpowering the floral qualities. I served it with ponzu for a dipping sauce, but honestly, we didn't use it much as the fritters stand best on their own! The below recipe makes about 40-45 small fritters, enough for 4-6.

  • ~10 medium-large elderflower heads, broken up into 40-45 small florets

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • Pinch yeast (champagne or baker's, I used champagne because I had some leftover)

  • 6-8 fluid ounces apple cider or sparkling water

  • 1/2 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided 

  • 2 tablespoons diced chives, divided 

  • Grapeseed oil, for frying

  • Ponzu or aioli for dipping (completely optional)

  1. Shake blossoms to remove hitchhiking bugs and dunk into a large bowl of cold water. Remove from water, shake to remove as much water as possible (and probably more bugs!), and pluck smaller clusters (about 1-inch each) from larger clusters, removing as much large stem as possible (there will be some stems still, as that's how the flower clusters stay together). Set aside on a paper towel to dry more.
  2. Whisk flour with yeast, 6 ounces cider, lemon zest, and 1/8 teaspoon salt until combined. Batter should be runny like pancake batter and will start to fluff up from the yeast. If batter is not runny enough, add some more cider then gently whisk in 1-1/2 tablespoon chives. 
  3. Pour enough grapeseed oil into a frying pan so that oil is 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan and heat to high.
  4. Once oil is hot, dip florets (one at a time) into batter, shake off any large clumps, and fry in oil until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes on the side opposite the stem, then flip and fry another 30 seconds on the stem side.
  5. Remove fritters and place on paper towel, then repeat with florets in batches until all are fried.
  6. Top fritters with dusting of remaining salt and remaining chives. Serve with ponzu or aioli if desired.
Ponzu not needed, but a cocktail is!

Ponzu not needed, but a cocktail is!