Ack, I know I know: it’s been several weeks since my last post and I’m sorry. With nicer weather I find myself spending more time outdoors during the daylight hours, which means making up for lost work-time in the evenings on my home computer. While having a more flexible schedule is great, my normal blog-time is more and more frequently being used for data-processing time. Now while I can’t show you what I’ve been working on with my research (unless you know Python it would look like gibberish to you anyway), I can catch you up to what I’ve been cooking. And baking. Wow, there’s been a lot of baking recently.
I was tempted to just post my most recent dessert achievement (sneak peak tweeted here), but was then afraid that I’d never get around to sharing all the dishes in between – it has happened before. So, you’ll just have to be patient for a bit. Honestly, it won’t be that bad. You should know me well enough by now to see that sweet treats are pretty darn frequent around here, for better or worse. It’s not a stretch to go from zucchini and non-fat Greek yogurt to sugar and butter…at least in my home, haha. Plus, these lovely fritters here are pan-fried so we’re compromising a bit, really.
Speaking of zucchini, have you seen NASA’s Diary of a Space Zucchini yet? I think it’s really cute and interesting. Creating a sustainable “green house in space” is key to the future of space-travel. Protein packs and dehydrated ice cream (do they still use that stuff??) can only get you so far and if we ever intend to go to Mars – an adventure I strongly feel we all should support (but that’s another story) – then a closed-loop ecological system is more than half the battle. Can you imagine how it would feel to be totally dependent on one humble garden? Well, humans have certainly done it before and many around the world are still doing it now. Also, the first crew of Biosphere 2 managed alright and even walked away with “enhanced immune systems” thanks to their “low-calorie, high nutrient diet”. It’s ironic how human advancement has led us back to a basic fundamental challenge: growing our own food.
I used Deb’s recipe almost exactly as she posted it, with the exception of the scallions and the yogurt. I honestly think scallions would be a better flavor here, but I had shallots I had to use up. Unless you strongly prefer one over the other, I’d follow her suggestion. I also had non-fat Greek yogurt to use up and found it perfectly tasty. Oh, by the way: HER BOOK IS AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER! No, I did not hesitate for a second – for once Amazon.ca has what I want, haha.
Zucchini Fritters (via Smitten Kitchen)
For the Fritters…
1 lb. zucchini (about 2 medium)
1 t salt, plus extra to taste
2 scallions, split lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
freshly ground black pepper
½ C AP flour
½ t baking powder
Olive or other oil of your choice for frying*
* Note: You might want to keep smoking temperatures in mind when choosing your oil here. Not that I’m very experienced working with a variety of oils (I stick to my trusty EVOO and Canola, with sesame thrown in occasionally), but I found my olive oil smoked much sooner than I thought. I couldn’t get my pan up to a hot enough temperature to quickly brown the fritters and had to leave them for an extra bit of time in the oven to crisp up (see notes below). Just something to keep in mind.
For the Topping…
1 C full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream
1-2 T lemon juice
¼ t lemon zest
1 small minced or crushed clove or garlic
pinch of salt to taste
1) Preheat oven to 200°F, line a plate with paper towels, and prep a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Trim the ends off the zucchini and either grate on the largest holes of a box grater or shred in a food processor. In a large bowl, toss shredded zucchini with the teaspoon of salt and let sit for 10 minutes. This pre-salting technique – known as purging – is also what’s used in my Easy Roasted Eggplant post. The idea is to pull out excess moisture which is very helpful in preventing soggy fritters.
2) While zucchini sit, mix flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside. After the 10 minutes are up, drain the zucchini strands any way you prefer. Deb suggests pressing them up against the holes of a colander, wringing them out by hand, or twisting handfuls in a clean dishcloth. I used my (clean!) hands to make sure I got as much water out as I could. Give a dry strand a taste-test and see if you’d like to add more salt. Mine were fine as they were.
3) Return zucchini to the large bowl and add egg, scallions, pepper and mix well. Add the dry flour blend to the large bowl and stir batter until incorporated. In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet heat 2 T of your oil of choice over Medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop scoops of your batter onto the skillet a few at a time and flatten gently with the back of a spatula. Cook until the bottoms are golden – about 3 or 4 minutes – before flipping to brown the other side. Remove fritters from pan and drain them on a paper towel-lined plate before placing them on the prepped baking sheet and into the warm oven. Repeat until all fritters are made.
4) While fritters finish “proofing” in the oven (I had to leave mine in for about 15 minutes to crisp up – see note above), whisk together all topping ingredients in a small bowl, reserving some lemon zest for garnish if you’d like. Once fritters are ready, serve immediately with generous dollops of topping and a pinch of zest.
These bright green fritters are really fun to make and even more fun to eat. I wish mine had turned out a bit crispier – even their oven time didn’t make them as sturdy as I had been hoping for – but I’m confident that I simply need to heat the pan more, so next time I’ll use Canola oil. Their flavor certainly leaves no room for complaints and the lemon-garlic topping is just perfect. Ever since Greek yogurt won me over on the Black Bean Soup I’ve been wanting to use it as much as possible and this lemon-infused version would go well on so many things: potatoes, chips, tacos, enchiladas…you name it. Although we ate all of ours, Deb mentions these babies freeze well so you can be sure I’ll make extra next time to stock-pile. Anything that makes for even quicker dinners in the future is a winner in my book.
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥