Last week my husband went from letting me know his feelings about zucchini by looking unenthusiastic, to finally flat out telling me like it is; he does not like it.
I like zucchini. It is satisfying in summer soups, good grilled, tasty sauteed with onions and garlic, and I love slicing it, roasting it, and using it in place of noodles in lasagna. However, all these dishes that I enjoy leave Joel cold - and I planted two highly productive plants in my community garden plot this year!
I did make a number of friends happy when I gave them some squash (in foggy, cold-summered Berkeley, zucchini is hard enough to grow that no one secretly drops it on your doorstep and runs away in the middle of the night!) But I wanted to eat some of it, too.
As I was sharing this sad tale with my friend and neighbor Natalie (as I offered her, and she declined, a squash at our community garden plots) she mentioned zucchini fritters. She briefly described grating them, tossing them with salt, and frying them up, and that they were yummy with a meat main course. That description alone gave me inspiration - I could tell they'd be great. I went right home and figured out how to make some. O. M. G. These are just fantastic. When Joel came home that night and saw me cooking them up, he wondered what they were, and at my conspiratorial grin... and didn't recognize the zucchini part of it until I spilled the squash after we'd snarfed them right up.
So, this is my recipe, but let's give it up to Natalie, whose inspiration revealed a whole new level of deliciousness - and a way to make zucchini that makes everybody happy!
yield: about 10 fritters
2 medium zucchini, grated coarsely
2 - 2 1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 TB freshly grated lemon zest (1-2 large lemons)
10 sprigs fresh Italian (flat-leaved) parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
olive oil for frying
Fresh lemon wedges for serving
1. Preheat the oven to the lowest setting and put a large plate or baking sheet on the middle rack to keep the cooked fritters hot while you prepare the rest.
|Freshly grated zucchini|
2. After grating the zucchini on the coarse holes of your grater, put into a colander and toss with the salt. Let sit in your sink for 10 minutes. This will draw out the excess moisture. (Most of the salt will go down the drain.)
3. While the zucchini sits, put the 2 eggs, garlic, pepper, lemon zest, and minced parsley into a medium-large bowl. Stir well with a fork to combine.
4. When the 10 minutes are up, squeeze the zucchini well with your hands to rid it of the excess moisture. When you are done, add the zucchini to the bowl of other ingredients, and stir well.
5. Gradually add the flour, sprinkling it over the zucchini mixture and stirring after each addition to avoid lumping.
6. Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large skillet.
7. Add 2 TB of batter for each fritter to the hot oil, and fry until golden brown and firm on the first side. Turn and repeat. Add the cooked fritters to the heated plate in the oven. Serve with fresh lemon wedges.