Having a vegetable garden has been such a joy to me! I know I’ve said it a few times before, but it’s worth repeating. The weekly harvest of tomatoes, zucchinis, peppers, string beans, and radishes has really inspired me to cook in a way I’ve never done before. Take the zucchini, for example. It is actually one of the few vegetables I don’t dislike, but I usually only ate it breaded and fried, with gobs of ranch dressing. The very fact that, in the last week, I’ve made zucchini muffins, zucchini chips (ok, this is not a surprise to anyone who knows my penchant for fried stuff dipped in fat), and now, zucchini fritters, is a testament to the power of home grown vegetables and organic gardening.
Actually, I used zucchini four times this week since I also made zucchini bread using the muffin recipe, but this time I added the optional ingredients – chocolate and pecans. The bread turned out really moist and really good with little bits of chocolate. It seemed odd to me last week to combine zucchini and chocolate, but the combination works!
Anyway, back to these zucchini fritters, which I adapted from Smitten Kitchen (such a great food blog!). These fritters were light and delicious, especially with a dollop of the lemon-garlic sour cream topping. The baking powder in the batter gives the fritters a little lift and makes flipping them easier. They were easy to make, but grating the zucchini is a little time-consuming. Next time, I would flatten the fritters more (like latkes) to really crisp them up. The soggy fritters were still good, but I had to put them back in oil for a couple of minutes to really crisp them up. I added a couple of dashes of garlic powder and paprika for a little extra flavor.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: About 10 2 1/2 inch fritters
1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini
1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
2 scallions, split lengthwise and sliced thin
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Few dashes garlic powder and paprika, to taste
Olive or another oil of your choice, for frying
1 cup sour cream or plain, full-fat yogurt
1 to 2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Pinches of salt
1 small minced or crushed clove of garlic
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Have a baking sheet ready.
Trim ends off zucchini and grate them either on the large holes of a box grater or on a mandolin with a large grater blade attachment.
In a large bowl, toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and set aside for 30 minutes. Squeeze out the water by wrapping the zucchini in a dishtowel or cheesecloth. It is amazing how much liquid is in the zucchini, so try to squeeze as much out as possible because the less liquid, the crispier the fritters will be.
Return zucchini to the bowl. Stir in scallions, egg, about 1/4 teaspoon more salt (since most of it was squeezed out of the zucchini with the water), and ground pepper. In a separate dish, stir together the flour, baking powder, garlic powder, and paprika, then add to the zucchini mixture.
In a large heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Drop 2 or 3 small bunches of the zucchini batter onto the skillet, taking care not to crowd the pan. Lightly flatten the fritters with the back of a spatula. Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned underneath again, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Drain briefly on paper towels then transfer to baking sheet and then into the warm oven until needed. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, making sure to remove any burnt batter particles in the oil.
For the topping, stir together the sour cream, lemon juice, zest, salt and garlic. Adjust the flavors to your taste. Dollop on each fritter before serving.
Do ahead: These fritters keep well, either chilled in the fridge for the better part of a week and or frozen in a well-sealed package for months. When you’re ready to use them, simply spread them out on a tray in a 325 degree oven until they’re hot and crisp again.