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Zucchini Fritters…OR, “The Fat Season”

August 31, 2011

Lest August pass us by without a peep from me, I’m getting my act together and providing you with one of our very favorite summer recipes.  This recipe will come in handy, no doubt, if you find yourself neck-high in summer squash, as is the classic gardener’s dilemma.  (Oddly enough, we haven’t been able to get our squash to do much at all this year…it’s the green beans that are impossible to keep up with…)

If winter is the lean season, then late summer is, undeniably, the fat season.  And oh, are we packing it on!  Not only summer squash, but green beans, Swiss chard, salads of freckled romaine, cucumbers, blueberries, blackberries and peaches; tomatoes! tomatoes! tomatoes!  So many good things in such abundance, and at the peak of their flavor.  Every time I eat a peach in August I am fortified in my resolve not to cave in and buy one that has been shipped half way around the world in February.  Today I pulled our first full-sized carrot from the ground.  I gave it a quick rinse with the garden hose and put it in Jacob’s little hand.  He wielded it boldly from his seat in the stroller on the walk home, fronds waving.  I stopped a few times along the way and coaxed a bite of his orange sword.  This is how a carrot should taste.

If summer is the fat season, for the gardener, or anyone desiring to preserve local produce at its peak for enjoyment later in the year, it is also the busy season.  And so it has been for me.  So far our shelves boast two types of dill pickles, canned peaches, corn relish, and strawberry, blueberry and amaretto-peach jams.  I am hoping to add salsa verde to the stores; we’ll see how the tomatillos fair.  I’ve also been saving seed for next year’s garden and keeping a certain berry monster well-supplied.  Like I said, it’s been a busy month.

And of course we are eating our fill of zucchini fritters, though to be honest I could do with a bit more.  Have you ever met a gardener who wants more zucchini?  Well here I am, waiting with open arms to receive any cast-offs you may have for me.  But before you give away any of your own zuke, try this recipe.  You may not want to part with your squash after all.

Zucchini Fritters (adapted from the “Vegetable Fritter” recipe in Simply in Season–a fabulous cookbook commissioned by the Mennonite Central Committee and published by Herald Press.  I use it all the time.)

Serves 2-4 (We like this as a main dish, but it’s also a great side).

Combine and set aside:

3 cups zucchini or other summer squash, cut into thin matchsticks (I like matchsticks better than grating because the fritters crisp up better without getting soggy in the center)

1/3 cup onion, minced  and/or  2 cloves garlic, minced

1 TBL – 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn (or fresh parsley or fresh chives, chopped); adjust quantity to your tastes–I like lots of herbiness in my fritters

In a separate bowl, mix to form a smooth batter:

1/3 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

several cranks of freshly ground pepper

2 eggs, beaten

2 TBL milk

Mix batter and squash mixture gently to coat all the squash.

Coat the bottom of a frying pan (cast iron is best) with oil (olive oil is okay, but not extra virgin, which does not tolerate high heats) and heat to medium hot.  (I heat my pan up on the ‘7’ setting and usually drop it to ‘6’ once things get good and hot).  Test your heat with a matchstick of squash–if it doesn’t sizzle when dropped in, your pan isn’t hot enough yet; if the oil is smoking, it’s probably too hot.  Drop a large spoonful of battered squash into the pan.  Fry until golden, turn, and cook on the second side.  Place cooked fritters on a plate lined with a paper towel while you finish the others.  These are best enjoyed as soon as they’ve cooled enough to eat!  We enjoyed ours with a little sauce made from a spoonful of plain yogurt, a spoonful of mayonnaise and a spoonful of homemade pesto.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 1, 2011 9:18 am

    Yum!! Those look amazing!

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