Cheddar Fritters with Chow Chow and Spicy Aïoli

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Photo by Tessa Richardson

Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery in Nashville shares their infamous cheddar fritters recipe. Soft and crumbly fritters from the buttermilk mix balance the sharp tang of cheddar cheese and bite of chives. Serve alongside their tangy, herbaceous chow chow and a simple, spicy aïoli. The cheddar fritters recipe may claim to serve a small crowd, but, more often than not, half of these are consumed right in the kitchen.

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Serves 8 to 10

    For the chow chow:
  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1⁄4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 quart apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 scant tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Note: Be sure to start the chow chow the day before you plan to serve the fritters.
  • For the spicy aioli:
  • 1 egg
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chili garlic sauce to taste
  • For the fritters:
  • 1½ pounds shredded cheddar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • Oil for frying
  • Chow chow and spicy aioli for serving
  1. Make the chow chow: In a medium bowl, combine cabbage, onion, bell pepper, and salt; set aside overnight.
  2. In a pot large enough to fit cabbage mixture, boil remaining ingredients for 10 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar. Drain any liquid released from cabbage mixture, then add vegetables to boiling vinegar mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes, the set aside to cool. Mixture will keep in refrigerator for 2 weeks.
  3. Make the spicy aioli: Add egg, garlic, and lemon juice to a food processor. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in oil until emulsified. Stir in salt, pepper, and chili garlic sauce to taste.
  4. Make the fritters: In a large bowl, stir first seven ingredients together until well combined. Form into balls and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  5. Heat oil to 350 degrees. Working in batches, lower fritters into oil and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to cool.

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