The zucchini this year has been fantastic. Typically by mid-August borers hidden in the stems of squash plants have done their work almost overnight rendering foliage into wilted into a mass of brownish detritus. The few plants that do withstand a borer invasion rarely survive the onslaught of squash bugs, which spread a fungus that paints plant’s big, coarse leaves with white powder. I measure my success in growing squash in how long I can keep either one of these scourges at bay, and this summer has been a banner one. It might be the cold winter we endured, or our relatively cool summer here in the mid-Atlantic, with far fewer hot and humid days than we typically experience, but whatever the reason, the zucchini, patty pan and yellow squashes have been coming on abundantly and the plants are showing no signs of stress yet.
My favorite thing to do with excess zucchini is making delicious chilled sup. I like it sauteed gently with plenty of onions, cooked down with chicken stock, seasoned with curry powder and then processed with buttermilk or yogurt or, in a pinch, coconut milk. I like the spicy kick of curried soup in the summer, especially when it’s chilled, though it’s equally welcome piping hot as the evenings cool down in September. This year, though, these Greek zucchini fritters have been a big hit. I’ve made zucchini fritters in the past, but this recipe is by far the best, showcasing the flavor of zucchini without overwhelming it. I particularly like the use of parsley , which supports and enhances the flavors of the summer squash. It’s really important to salt and drain the shredded squash – this allows the fritters to crisp up nicely when cooked in the oil.
So now in addition to making my soup, I routinely shred zucchini – it’s fast work in the food processor — drain and wring it dry, and pop it into the freezer for later use if I’m not going to make the fritters right away. It doesn’t keep well in the refrigerator – though the cooked fritters are fine for a couple of days and excellent heated up. Shredded zucchini is something you can add to all kinds of things, most notably it makes chicken and turkey burgers nice and moist – so there’s another use.
This recipe is adapted from an old Saveur magazine recipe and is enough for about a dozen fritters – a serving is two or three.
1 # zucchini, grated (about 2-3 medium)
1 t coarse salt or ½ t fine salt
½ C minced flat-leaf parsley
½ C grated Parmesan
½ C dried bread crumbs, such as Panko
1 medium yellow onion, grated
1 egg, beaten
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of cayenne, to taste
Grapeseed or peanut oil, for frying
Mix zucchini and salt in a strainer; set a weighted plate on top; let drain for 30 minutes. Transfer zucchini to a tea towel; squeeze out liquid. Mix zucchini, parsley, cheese, bread crumbs, onions, and egg in a bowl. Season with pepper and cayenne; divide mixture into 12 balls. Press balls into ¾”-thick patties. Pour oil into deep pot to a depth of 2″; heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 315̊ or the oil sizzles when a bit of the fritter batter is dropped into it. Working in 2 batches, fry patties until golden and crisp, 5–6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fritters to paper towels.