Last Friday, I fretted all day about what to do in preparation for the coming hurricane, so when I finally left the office on Friday afternoon, I headed straight for the grocery store. Unfortunately, the line wrapped around the store, and I abandoned that quest and instead became obsessed with finding zucchinis, as I had read about Zucchini fritters on Smitten Kitchen earlier in the day and all the fretting made me hungry.
I remember trying to make zucchini and feta fritters when I first moved into the city, and it was a disaster – I ended up with flat, soggy, semi-tasteless patties that I couldn’t actually finish eating. Maybe this one would be different?
After wandering through a few delis (safer than grocery stores, much shorter lines!), I still couldn’t for the life of me find any zucchini. But then I stumbled upon these green squash! After several failed attempted to google “green squash” on my phone, I figured they looked zucchini-like enough and bought them. Everyone around me must have thought I was crazy – who buys squash ahead of a storm?? (Meeee!)
- 3 small or 2 medium zucchini or green squash (I’m going to assume they’re the same thing)
- Handful of basil leaves (I had extra lying around) or cilantro
- 1/3 cup shredded carrots (for color)
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt (Kosher salt, sea salt, etc)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Olive oil
Shred the zucchini with a grater (takes forever) or in a food processor (okay fiiiine, being able to use the new food processor was maybe 50% of the reason why I wanted to make the fritters), and transfer to a bowl. Sprinkle the shredded zucchini with the salt, and let sit for ~5 minutes.
The salt will draw the water out of the zucchini, so it’s easier for you to squeeze out the excess liquid (there’s a lot! I missed this step last time, thus the soggy fritters). Squeeze them out with a cheese cloth, or just use a (clean!) towel or your hands. I tried a sieve and it failed… maybe a collander would’ve worked better? I didn’t try – the number of dirty dishes was already piling up and I hate cleaning the collander (so many holes for food to get stuck in!).
Grate the carrots, and toss them in with the dry(ish) zucchini. So colorful! Then take the basil (wash and pat dry with a towel if it’s not prewashed), and chop it into thin strips. I really wanted cilantro, but couldn’t find it – I think the flavor works better than the basil. But whatever – the trick is to roll the leaves up like a cigar, and then slice them thinly – keeps it neat, and gives you lovely little ribbons! It also has a fancy name, chiffonade (see link for a lovely picture tutorial). Woohoo, another fancy term you can drop around your foodie friends. Toss the carrots, zucchini and basil together in a bowl. I think I also added some minced garlic, but mostly because…I love garlic (sorry honey).
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and pepper. Add this to the veggie mixture, along with the egg, and mix until combined.
Add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of a pan (I love my cast iron pan, and it was also already on the stovetop – perfect!) – I usually use olive oil in a Misto spray can, or you can just use a cooking spray. Scoop up golf ball sizes of your zucchini mix, and space them apart so they don’t clump into one huge fritter (or do, that sounds awesome!). If the fritters stick, use a little more oil.
Cook for 3-5 minutes until the bottoms are slightly browned, and flip over to cook the other side for another 3-5 minutes. Cooking the rest of the fritters in the same manner. You can then transfer the pan cooked fritters to a baking sheet, and bake for ~10 minutes at 325°F to make them crispy / keep them all at the same temp. Or you can just eat them immediately (no surprise that’s what I did).
For a yummy yogurt sauce:
- 1/2 cup fat free greek yogurt (or any plain yogurt or sour cream will do)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1-2 garlic cloves (minced, or as I prefer, the equivalent in a garlic paste – either processed roasted garlic which takes out that sharpness, or some stores like TJ’s sell them pureed in a can, so much easier!)
- Salt, to taste
You can use a lot of different sauces to eat this with, but I prefer a light, zesty one to offset the slight heaviness of the zucchini fritters. Mixed together all the ingredients, add salt to taste, and serve on the side.
Per cake (recipe makes ~9 small cakes): 45 calories, 0.2g fat, 0g cholesterol, 315mg sodium, 255mg potassium, 10g carbs, 2g protein.