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Waste Not. Want Not. Welcome to "zucchini week" here on A Veggie Venture, a serious attempt to keep up with baseball-sized summer squash that appear overnight on my kitchen counter. Without real effort, their next stop would be compost, especially because the big and dense zucchini can't be used with just any recipe. In addition, after being obsessed with baking all summer long, all of a sudden, turning on the oven is dead last on a long list of cooking ideas.
This is the first time I've made fritters! At least with vegetables, a fritter implies a grated vegetable, bound together into a thin pancake, then fried until crisp in a skillet, though some times baked too. This is comfort food country-style, cheap eats, supper on a budget. They're substantial enough to make an entire meal or could be paired with grilled meat.
Time to table: 45 minutes
Makes 8 good-sized fritters
1 pound zucchini, peeled if skins are tough, halved, seeds scooped out (for large zucchini only), grated
2 large eggs
Zest of a lemon
1 small onion, chopped fine (about 1/4 cup)
Fresh basil, chopped fine
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper to taste
1 dried chili pepper
Line a colander with a paper towel, add the grated zucchini; top with another paper towel and press lightly. Let drain for about 30 minutes.
Whisk together eggs, zest, onion, basil, flour, salt and pepper. Gently fold in zucchini.
Heat a heavy, non-stick skillet such as well-seasoned cast iron on MEDIUM HIGH. Add oil and chili pepper, let warm though. (The oil is hot enough when it sizzles when you flick a little water off your fingertips into the oil.) Drop heaping spoons of the fritter batter into the skillet, flatten a bit with the back of the spoon, smooth the edges if needed. Let cook until brown and very crispy, turn over and repeat.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
The large garden-huge zucchini I used cast off virtually no liquid during the draining stage so next time, I might gauge whether or not the draining step is required. Smaller zucchini, however, likely would require draining. But if you're in a rush, just give the zucchini a good, hard squeeze. Some times they release a lot of liquid (especially if you let them rest with a sprinkle of salt) but other times? Not so much.
I cook half the mixture one evening, the remainder the next with no ill effect. Once, I made them for breakfast with fried eggs on top, gorgeous!
No dried chili peppers on hand? Skip entirely or mince a small hot pepper for the fritter batter.
If needed, warm an oven to 300F to keep these warm for serving.
I like to serve these with sour cream, applesauce or for something more savory, a 1:1 mix of Greek yogurt and buttermilk with a little grated garlic. Gorgeous!
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