Sunday, February 20, 2011

Greek Zucchini Fritters

Martha Shulman (goddess of the NY Times "Recipes for Health" section) summed up this recipe by calling them "zucchini latkes". And, indeed, that's exactly what they are. A bit messy, and "fall apart-y", and of course fried in oil, they are delicious and only slightly guilt inducing. More than simple zucchini, the taste of the dill and feta conjures fabulous images of the Mediterranean and summertime. Despite frying, mine remained soft and tender inside. I was in zucchini heaven.

The only problem with the recipe is the necessary hour wait time while the zucchini batter...does whatever it needs to do in the fridge for an hour. I'm not sure what would happen if I fried them immediately, but I can only surmise the hour in the fridge did them good.

You'll have to eat these the day you make them, sadly. They don't withstand another visit to the fridge as leftovers, turning into sloppy zucchini messes. But hey, joy is fleeting anyway, right?

Serves six to eight

2 pounds large zucchini, trimmed and grated on the wide holes of a grater or food processor
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as fennel, dill, mint, parsley (I like to use mostly dill)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1+ cup fresh or dry breadcrumbs, more as necessary
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup crumbled feta
All-purpose flour as needed and for dredging
Olive oil for frying


Salt the zucchini generously and leave to drain in a colander for one hour, tossing and squeezing the zucchini from time to time. Take up handfuls of zucchini, and squeeze out all of the moisture. Alternately, wrap in a clean dish towel, and squeeze out the water by twisting at both ends.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add the shredded zucchini, herbs, cumin, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste and feta. Mix together well. Take up a small handful of the mixture; if it presses neatly into a patty, it is the right consistency. If it seems wet, add more breadcrumbs or a few tablespoons of all-purpose flour. When the mixture has the right consistency, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour or longer.

Heat 1 inch of olive oil in a large frying pan until rippling, or at about 275 degrees. Meanwhile, take up heaped tablespoons of the zucchini mixture, and form balls or patties. Lightly dredge in flour.

When the oil is very hot, add the patties in batches to the pan. Fry until golden brown, turning once with a spider or slotted spoon. Remove from the oil, and drain briefly on a rack.

Serve with plain Greek style yogurt on the side.

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