You'll never guess what was included in our CSA haul this week. Zucchini! That's right, amazing as it may sound, there they were, three big fatties at the bottom of the bag.
Seriously, it's not that I have a problem with zucchini, itself (though I did publicly disparage the zucchini a while back on Iron Chef America, which had a few zucchini lovers up in arms). I like zucchini. Julienned and sauteed in butter it's a simple summer side dish. Add some nuts, herbs and a vinaigrette to zucchini you've salted for ten minutes and it's a revelation (raw zucchini salad). There are indeed all kinds of things you can do to zucchini. I guess my problem is how much of it is grown. Why do people grow so much zucchini? Just because we can doesn't mean we ought to have shopping bags full of zucchini every week.
But, given that it's a fact of summer, herewith my favorite thing to do with a zucchini: fry it. (A good motto, generally: when in doubt, fry!) Zucchini fritters are incredibly easy and can be riffed on in any number of ways, using whatever seasoings you have on hand. The key is to get as much water out of them as possible so they fry up with a good crisp crust. Grate them, salt them and let the salt do its work pulling moisture out, then wring the zucchini out, mix with some flavorful ingredients, shape into small patties and pan fry.
Make up your own, as I had to do. Or try the following recipe from Cleveland homeboy, Michael Symon, from his book Live To Cook. (You know how I know it's a good book? I gave away my last copy three weeks ago—to you Monk, if you're reading!—and already I've been annoyed not to have it; many cool preparations in that book, the pierogies, the pickled chillis, and these excellent fritters.)
Zucchini Fritters with Feta and Dill
From Michael Symon's Live to Cook
2 medium zucchini
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus whole dill for garnish
1 large scallion, white and green parts, thinly sliced on the bias
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 ounces feta cheese, coarsely chopped or crumbled
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Canola oil, for pan-frying
½ cup Greek yogurt
Coarse sea salt, for garnish
Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a grater onto a clean kitchen towel. Sprinkle with the kosher salt and let it rest while you gather and prep the remaining ingredients.
Wrap the zucchini in the towel and wring as much liquid out of it as possible, discarding the liquid. In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, mint, dill, scallion, garlic, pepper, feta and all but 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest. Stir in the egg and flour and mix until well combined.
Add the canola oil to a large shallow pan; you want about ¼ inch or enough so that when all the fritters are in the pan, the oil comes halfway up their sides. Place the pan over medium-high heat. Form fritters by hand or using a ¼ cup measure, and fry them in the hot oil in batches. Cook until the fritters are golden brown on each side, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain in paper towels.
Transfer the fritters to plates and garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of dill, the reserved lemon zest, and some coarse sea salt.
Serves 4 (makes about 8 fritters)