Friday, January 07, 2005


Don’t you just love the word “fritter”? And all the crispy, golden, fried goodness it implies? As the author of this recipe, Jack Bishop, points out, however (in Vegetables Every Day), “These fritters are more like savory pancakes than conventional fritters…. The batter is pan-fried in a film of olive oil until the exterior of the fritters becomes crisp. The interior remains soft and a bit creamy.” Sounds just fine to me, Jack. And they are. Nice, green pancakes, a little eggy, a little garlicky. Not too challenging to make, either (though I did go through a lot of paper towels, between the squeezing of the water out of the zucchini and the patting the oil off the cooked fritters). Jack says they can be served as a side dish with chicken or fish, or as a light main course accompanied by salad. I served mine with North Beach Grilled Chicken (sorry, too tired to link to it), and it was good. Next time, I’ll let the oil get a little hotter and let them get a little browner, but overall, thumbs up from A and me. But how could fritters really let you down?

1 pound zucchini
1 large garlic clove, minced
3⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish (optional)

1. Trim the ends from the zucchini and then coarsely grate them (the zucchini, not the ends) on a grater with large holes. Wrap the shredded zucchini in several layers of paper towel (or you can use a kitchen towel, which I find works nicely because it doesn't tear) and squeeze gently to get rid of excess water. Continue squeezing, using new paper towels periodically (this would be a good paper-towel commercial, because my inferior generic-brand ones got soggy and tore pretty quickly), until the zucchini seems pretty dry.

2. Place the zucchini in a large bowl and add the garlic, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix well, then stir in the flour.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When it's good and hot, fill a 1⁄4 cup measuring cup with the batter, turn the batter into the frying pan, and use the back of a spoon (or, even handier, the bottom of the measuring cup) to shape it into a 2-to-3-inch patty. Repeat until the pan is full, but not too crowded (for me, this was 4 pancakes). Saute until the fritters are nicely browned on the bottom, 2-3 minutes. Flip the fritters over and continue cooking until they're browned on the other side, another 2-3 minutes. Transfer the fritters to a plate lined with paper towels.

4. Briefly heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet, then repeat the process, adding the remaining batter to make more fritters. Cook the fritters until brown on both sides, then drain them on the paper towels. Serve garnished with lemon wedges, if desired.

Serves: 2-4
Time: 30 minutes

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