Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Zucchini Fritters

As recently mentioned, this vegetarian dish was a great change-up to the onslaught of summer's grilled protein.  I like to make fun of strict vegetarians and vegans, but every now and then a non-meat dinner is a great refresher.  

These fritters hit the trifecta- quick, easy, and yummy.  You do, however, have to adhere to a few notes about concocting this recipe.  First, techniques like frying is why you should own a cast-iron skillet.  I recommend Lodge brand because they are cheap, durable, and come pre-seasoned.  Pay attention to how to care for your skillet- no soap, no rust.  After all, you should be frying your bacon in a cast-iron skillet, which not only tastes fantastic it keeps your hardware nicely seasoned and oiled.  Secondly, don't crowd the fritters when cooking.  Give them room to heat up nicely and give you those delicious browned edges.  So, you'll most likely have to cook in 2 batches, unless you have a huge skillet.  Keep the first batch in a warm oven (200F) on a rack over a sheet pan- don't place on paper towel like so many recipes tell you to do- sitting in its oil will rob you of the crispy crust and you'll have a soggy fritter, which is no good.  Thirdly, gas ovens introduce a ton of moisture, so don't keep them in there too long. 

If you don't want to buy greek yogurt, you can let regular yogurt strain though a fine-mesh sieve for 20 minutes to thicken up.  Like most vegetables, zucchini is mostly water- don't skip the salting step, you need to draw out most of the water.  Water+hot oil= problem. 
  
Zucchini Fritters
makes about 6 fritters, good for light meal with a green salad

for the sauce-
1/2 C greek yogurt
1 ts lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
pinch S&P

for the fritters-
1 large or 2 medium zucchini, shredded
4 green onions, green part only, split lengthwise
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 C AP flour
1/2 ts baking powder
1 ts kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
2 TB veg or canola oil

Combine all sauce ingredients in a small bowl, mix well, and stash in the fridge to chill.

Shred the zucchini with a food pro or on the large holes of a box grater.  Place a colander in the sink and layer the zucchini, spreading them out.  Spinkle with 1 ts kosher salt, let sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fire up a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  In a medium bowl, lightly beat one large egg, then add 3 of the green onions which you have sliced thinly.  In another small bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. 

Strain the zucchini  by using cheesecloth, a clean towel, or a few layers of paper towel- squeeze out as much water as you can, then add to the egg mixture.  Stir in the dry goods (flour and pow) and season with a few grinds of pepper.  Mix everything well so all is distributed evenly.

Pour about 2 TB of cooking oil into your skillet, the fat should be hot enough to be shimmering but not smoking.  Using a TB or small spoon, scoop portions a bit larger than a golf ball and place into the skillet.  Smash down gently with a spatula to form fritters.  Cook on one side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook for about the same amount.  Place onto the rack in the warmed oven until ready to eat. 

Slice the remaining green onion into small pieces, top the fritters with the yogurt sauce, then the onion. 


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