Monday, June 7, 2010

A Summer Obsession: Zucchini Feta Fritters

(The first flower of the year--an anemone)

Last year, this was an oft-repeated conversation around our place:

Nick: So what are we having for dinner?
Me: Uuuuummmmm...I kinda sorta wanted to make some zucchini patties.
Nick: (Eyes widening in disbelief) Seriously? Really? Again?
Me: Yeah, sorry. I can make another side for you.
Nick: Um, that might be a good idea.

I had thought that last year's hard-core addiction to these zucchini fritters would have cured me of my never-ending lust for their vegetable-y, cheesy goodness. But it didn't. When I told Nick the other day that I wanted to make them just once in honor of the start of summer, this pronouncement again had the Eye-Widening Effect. "Is this going to be a problem?" he asked.

"I don't think so," I said, "I think I can make them just this once and be okay."

Five batches later, Nick is again begging for mercy and I'm considering zucchini rehab.

I think you should try these fritters, although Nick might beg to differ. Their herby, zucchini-y lightness is perfectly countered by the saltiness of the feta cheese. They're not too heavy to make an enjoyable summer treat, but at the same time they're wickedly satisfying in the way patties of pan-seared, shredded vegetables tend to be. These are extremely easy to whip up, and they're delicious hot, at room temperature, and even cold. They're great as sides, appetizers, or snacks. 

Zucchini Feta Fritters
(Adapted from Epicurious)

  • 3 cups coarsely grated zucchini (from about 3 medium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup (or more) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon chiffonade (cut into ribbons) fresh basil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more as needed

Toss zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to sieve. Press out excess liquid; place zucchini in dry bowl.

Mix in egg, yolk, 1/2 cup flour, cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix in parsley, onions, and basil. If batter is very wet, add more flour by spoonfuls. However, if liquid is leaking out because the batter has been sitting for a few minutes, do not add more flour. Only add more flour if the homogeneous batter is runny. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon canola oil in large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into skillet, and flatten to a 1.4 inch thickness. Fry patties until golden, about 5 minutes per side, adding more canola oil as needed.

These can be made a day ahead of time and rewarmed in a 350 degree oven. They can also be made ahead of time and served room temperature.

Epicurious suggests that these patties be served with plain Greek yogurt, but I find it unnecessary. The last time I made these, I added a couple tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, which was quite nice, but it's optional. 


Anonymous said...

As a greek I adore them... and we make do them quite similar as you have done, except the basil... basil is not used very often in the greek cuisine -my other half part that is italian uses it!!- but instead we use spearmint... or if you do not find it try it with mint...
and, yes, we serve it with a yogurt sauce that has garlic and some chopped dill in it...

Sure though, like all patties there are zillions of ingredients to add/remove...
But, you have done something very very good...!!!

Leah said...

I'm not a big fan of mint, but we actually bought some yesterday because Nick likes it. Maybe I can persuade him to eat some more fritters if they have mint in them.