Is anyone really crazy about zucchini? How unfortunate that this low-maintenance vegetable that grows easily and abundantly in this part of the country so often ends up in the "can't give it away" category.
Low in calories with a good amount of vitamin C, zucchini, while not exactly a superfood, is a whole food, cheap and plentiful. Time to give it a chance. But I've never been excited about the flavor which, to me, has a slightly metallic edge. So I did what any sensible person does when faced with a food they don't like much...I fried it in oil. A crispy, salty brown crust forgives many culinary shortcomings and it really works with this one. I added a healthy dose of fresh basil and chives to sweeten up the zucchini and a bit of baking powder for lift (thank you Smitten Kitchen for this tip).
These are great to make while you're catching up with your family, having a glass of wine and eating them as they come out of the pan. Delicious on their own, or with a bit of sour cream or tzatziki.
Note: Don't skip the step of salting, draining and squeezing the zucchini if you want crisp fritters (you do) and use a nice heavy pan. I've tried both nonstick and cast-iron and while cast-iron has a slight edge for crust, both work well. Don't be tempted to cook these too fast - I made this mistake once and had eggy, raw centers. Also, please use olive oil. It's zucchini's buddy and the flavors are really complimentary.
Herbed Zucchini Fritters
Makes approx. 8 fritters (4 small fritters per zucchini)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup chopped basil or parsley
1/4 cup chopped chives or green onions
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3-4 grinds black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1. Trim ends of zucchini and shred on largest holes of box grater. Place in a colander, sprinkle with salt, mix and set over a bowl to drain for 20-30 minutes. Dump drained zucchini onto a clean kitchen towel, wrap up tight and squeeze over the sink. You won't believe how much water these puppies will leach.
2. Place "dry" zucchini, chopped herbs and zest in a bowl.
3. Mix flour and baking powder together in a small bowl and sprinkle over zucchini, adding a few grinds of black pepper. Mix gently. Beat egg in a separate bowl, add to mix and stir just until combined.
4. Heat oil in pan over medium heat until hot. Add a heaping tablespoon of batter and gently flatten with back of spoon. Fry for about 4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining batter. You can keep these warm (or re-warm) in a hot oven, but they're best eaten immediately.