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Pancetta Parmesan Pea Fritters

Transforming freezer staples, one bag of peas at a time.

Pancetta parmesan pea fritters on a white plate with an arugula salad and a fork.

If you’re looking for a fresh springy meal that you can whip up with just a few pantry staples, you’ve come to the right place. Laced with crispy pancetta and aged parmesan cheese, these easy stovetop fritters transform a bag of frozen peas into a fresh seasonal meal that feels like it came from a farmer’s market haul—when it actually came from the freezer.


Pancetta parmesan pea fritters on a white plate with an arugula salad and lemon wedges.

Like most pantry staples, frozen peas are full of dormant potential. Eaten on their own, they’re just okay, but paired with the right ingredients and a little creativity, they can become both delicious and exciting. Here, the saltiness of the pancetta, the umami of the parmesan, and the warmth of the black pepper all play off the peas, complementing and amplifying their natural sweet freshness. Everything comes together in a fritter: an approachable, fun format that’s both easy to make and fun to eat.


A block of parmesan cheese is already a staple in many people’s cheese drawer. If it’s not in yours, I highly encourage you to go buy one. Due to its low moisture content, parmesan lasts much longer than most other cheeses, making it a true pantry condiment that you can keep and use for a long time. Pancetta, on the other hand, is not necessarily a pantry staple. I included it in this recipe because I love the alliteration, but in a pinch it can definitely be changed out for bacon, which most people keep on hand at all times.


Whether you’re in search of a fresh weeknight dinner or just trying to figure out WHAT to do with that d-mn bag of peas, these pea fritters are calling your name. Between the crispy lacy edges and the soft interior bursting with peas and those salty pops of pork, this is one springtime dinner that no one will ever BELIEVE came from your pantry.


Enjoy!

 

Pancetta Parmesan Pea Fritters

(Makes 8)


Pancetta parmesan pea fritters on a white plate with an arugula salad.

4 oz. pancetta, chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

½ cup (60 g.) all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more for serving

½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for serving

1 ½ cups frozen peas, thawed and patted dry

1 oz. parmesan, finely grated, (1/2 packed cup) plus more for serving

1 large egg

¼ cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil, divided, for cooking

4 oz. arugula, for serving

Olive oil, for serving

Fresh lemon wedges, for serving


Method


Crispy pancetta on a blue-rimmed plate.

Add pancetta to a medium pan and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pancetta is crisp, 5-7 minutes. Remove pancetta to a small plate, leaving fat in pan. Add shallot to fat in pan and cook until lightly golden, 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and add to plate with pancetta.


In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, kosher salt, and cracked black pepper. Add peas and parmesan and toss to coat.


In a small measuring cup, whisk together egg and milk. Add to dry ingredients, along with the crispy pancetta and shallots, and use a rubber spatula to fold in until combined.


A pancetta parmesan pea fritter in a cast iron pan.

In a large, heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat. Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to drop 3 (¼-cup) puddles of batter into the pan. Lower the temperature to medium and cook until golden-brown on the bottom, 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side until cooked through, 1-2 minutes longer. Remove to a plate and keep warm.


Add another tablespoon oil to the pan (there should be some leftover from the previous batch) and repeat with three more cakes. Add the final tablespoon of oil for the last two cakes.


In a small bowl, toss arugula with a little olive oil, fresh lemon juice, additional black pepper, and additional shaved parmesan.


Top pea fritters with more parmesan and black pepper, and serve with arugula salad and lemon wedges.


Pancetta parmesan pea fritters on a white plate with an arugula salad and a cup with lemon wedges.


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