The first time I ate zucchini and liked it was at the (almost-)famous Sarah and Brad Richardson household, at one of their (almost-)famous get-togethers. Brad had picked out this recipe to make, and of course, started mixing drinks and playing host, leaving Sarah to get her hands messy and do all the frying.
It might have been the booze or the heat, but those little babies were fantastic. Fresh, complex but not overwhelming, hearty and substantial but not rich or filling. I couldn’t believe that I was eating zucchini… and liking it. (Of course, the cream cheese and shrimp didn’t hurt…)
I tried making zucchini and squash fritters at home for the rest of that summer, but never came up with anything I liked. I originally bought these little squash with the intention of making oven-fried chips out of them, but somehow, I found myself thinking about fritters. After browsing recipes online, I came up with this, and will not stray.
They’re crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. I love the slight taste of egg and nutmeg in the background. I ate these with a scoop of sour cream mixed with a little lemon juice and a little dill for a light summer lunch.
The recipe that the Richardsons used relies on the moisture from the zucchini, while the vast majority of recipes I found online given instructions for squeezing most of the moisture out of the ‘fruit’ and instead holding the fritters together with eggs. I joined the two techniques on a whim, and it worked! (I know, I was surprised too.)
~1 pound zucchini, or a combination of zucchini and squash, coarsely grated (should yield ~2 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 t. kosher salt, divided
2-4 T. olive oil
1 egg white
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cayenne pepper (option)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 to 3/4 c. flour
In a smallish bowl, place 1 lightly-packed cup of grated zucchini. In a fine-mesh strainer or colander, mix the remaining grated zucchini and 1 t. salt and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes to drain. Press or squeeze the zucchini to get as much moisture out as possible; add back to the bowl of undrained zucchini.
Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high. Beat the egg white til just frothy and pour over zucchini. Add nutmeg, pepper, and 1 /2 t. salt, and stir well. Add 1/2 c. of the flour and mix well to combine. If needed, add the remaining 1/4 c. flour by tablespoons, just until the batter is thick enough to hold together but still wet enough to stick to your fingers.
With wet hands or a dough scoop, form the fritter batter into balls or discs. Place in the hot oil and press lightly to flatten. Fry each side for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.
*Note: These can be eaten cold, but I think they are not very good warmed up. If this makes more fritters than you want at one time, cover the batter with plastic wrap right on top of the fritter batter, and again tightly over the top of the bowl. This will last in the fridge for 1-2 days.