You know how zucchini is. It hides, camouflaged, in the shade of its large leaves, and one day you spot a tiny little zucchini at the base of a flower and you think “It’s too tiny to pick now, but in a day or two, it’ll be the perfect size!” And then you forget all about it, or it hides, and when you take a peek under those leaves again, tiny baby zucchini has grown to the size of your old Subaru Outback, which was also green, though a different shade.
In past years we’ve shredded the zucchini (well, Bill has done all this, but I say “we” because we’re all in this together, mi casa es su case, mi zucchini es su zucchini, and because I write the posts on this website) and made it into tons of veggie burgers for the freezer. Bill has perfected the recipe and technique, and they come out really good.
But Julia doesn’t like them. I think it’s the texture, but I don’t really know. I like to blame texture because I don’t want my kids to sound like picky eaters. They aren’t, either. They, like all of us, just have things they like and don’t like. Julia likes fish eyeballs. She doesn’t like veggie burgers. Fair enough.
Anyway, I wanted to make something new with some of our zucchini this year. I’ve done zucchini breads/muffins, grilled zucchini, fried zucchini, zucchini chocolate chip cookies. Bill does the veggie burgers, and we add shredded zucchini to pasta dishes, various Asian dishes, and just about anything else we can think of.
I thought I’d like to make latkes.
I love latkes – I pretty much love anything that includes potato – and I thought subbing some zucchini for some of the potato would be a yummy idea.
Just to be sure that it was a good idea, I looked up “zucchini latkes” online and found tons of recipes.
“Psst: These days I like these Zucchini Fritters even more.”
Hm! Really? Why?
So I clicked on the link.
Zucchini Fritters, also on Smitten Kitchen, sounded even better than the latkes, primarily because I didn’t actually have any potatoes anyway.
I made some changes to the recipe, and I am elated to tell you that EVERYONE in our household LOVES them.
I love them because they’re delicious, and I really love them because Alex loves them. And I say that because he’s not fond of eggplant. (I think it’s a texture thing, hahahaha.) So when I make eggplant parmesan – which the rest of us adore – he just eats the cheese and the accompanying pasta. He likes chicken parmesan, but I don’t make that a lot. Probably because I’m a mean mother.
Anyway, when Alex declared his undying love for the zucchini fritters, I thought, almost immediately, AHA! I can make zucchini fritter parmesan!!! I haven’t done it yet, but I will, trust me on that.
Anyway, here’s what I did, and the recipe is at the end.
First up, I shredded the zucchini. I used the shredding attachment on my food processor, as recommended in the recipe, but you can also use a box shredder. I salted the zucchini and let it drain in a colander for a little while.
While the zucchini drained, I meandered out to the garden with a bowl and my little blue-handled knife with the curved blade, the one I use to harvest things in the garden. I picked (or cut) basil, oregano and chives.
And some lemon thyme. I thought the purple flowers would be pretty in the fritters.
This is part of the “made some changes to the recipe” thing I mentioned. I wanted to beef up (or herb up) the flavor. I rinsed the leaves and chopped the basil and chives and the bigger oregano leaves. I just stripped the flowers and leaves off the lemon thyme stems.
My other change was the addition of a whole lot of grated Parmesan cheese. But I’ll get to that.
Once the zucchini had drained, I squeezed as much liquid out of it as I could and put all the shrunken shreds in a big bowl.
I didn’t squeeze enough in the first batch, so I made sure to squeeze a lot more in subsequent batches.
To this I added more salt, some black pepper, the chopped herbs, and an egg, and mixed it all together. Then I added flour, baking powder and the grated cheese and folded everything together.
Mmmm! Sticky and goopy!
Then I just fried little blobs of the mixture in some oil and kept them all warm until dinnertime. I used an ice cream scoop to portion out the fritters, and that worked just fine.
Now, while all that was going on, I also threw together a quick garlicky marinara. I used two cans of plum tomatoes, a whole bunch of roasted garlic in oil that I had in the fridge, oregano, basil, salt, pepper…that’s about it. I simmered everything together while I made the fritters and cooked some pasta, and then I pureed it with my trusty little immersion blender before pouring it over the zucchini fritters and the pasta. I was told it was the best marinara I’d ever made. :)
I’ve managed to freeze some zucchini fritters, actually, but most of them end up devoured the day I make them. Kind of nice for my ego. And kind of a nice way to use up some zucchini!
Here’s the recipe. You can increase or decrease amounts, of course, depending on the size of your harvest.
Herbed Zucchini Fritters
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
About 2 pounds of zucchini, shredded
2T chopped fresh basil
1T chopped fresh oregano
1T chopped fresh chives
1 T chopped fresh lemon thyme
salt and pepper to taste (about a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 T grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Oil for frying
1. Salt the shredded zucchini and put it in a colander for about ten or fifteen minutes to drain. Working in batches, put zucchini in a cotton dishcloth or in some cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Really squeeze hard.
2. In a large bowl, combine squeezed zucchini, chopped herbs, egg, and salt and pepper.
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder and cheese. Fold into the zucchini mixture.
4. Heat about 1/4” of oil (deep) in a pan until it shimmers. Then carefully drop portions of the zucchini mixture (I used a small ice cream scoop, you can go as big or as small as you like) into the hot oil. Be careful – the hot oil will splatter.
5. Fry until dark golden brown on bottom, then carefully flip each fritter over and fry on the other side. Drain on paper towels or brown paper bags and keep fritters warm in a low oven.
6. Serve with pasta and marinara if you would like to, or with dollops of sour cream, or applesauce, or Sriracha mayonnaise, or some hot sauce, or salsa, or whatever other yummy concoction that occurs to you.