Zucchini and Feta Fritters

Zucchini and Feta Fritters

Yield: 4 servings (about 2 fritters per person)

Time: 60 minutes (fritters only, make Labneh the day before)

Zucchini Fritters are served in cafés and bars in the Middle East as a quick bite, normally accompanied by either Labneh or a spicy tomato sauce. Instead of Labneh, I often use Greek or European-style thick yogurt.

Traditionally a part of a Mezze, it’s also an excellent side dish to poultry, lamb or fish. I love Mezze – prepared well its both a culinary and social delight. You take time eating and talking.

Ingredients:

Zucchini Fritters:

  •  3 medium zucchinis, about 1 3/4 lbs (800 g), coarsely grated
  • 1 tsp salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 scallions, finely sliced
  • 5 Tbsp flour
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 3 Tbsp flat Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) crumbled feta cheese
  • pepper, freshly grated
  • olive oil for frying
  • Use either Labneh or a spicy tomato sauce.

Labneh: You can buy it at specialty stores or make your own – the recipe can be found here.

Spicy Tomato Sauce:

  • 5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped
  • 9 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped coarsely
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Spicy Tomato Sauce: In a saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili and fry gently until the garlic is fragrant. Take care that garlic does not burn, it will become bitter. Add tomatoes and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until tomatoes fall apart. The sauce should still have nice chunks of tomatoes in it. Season with salt and add black pepper, if necessary.

Zucchini Fritters: Put grated zucchini, salt, lemon zest and chopped scallions in a bowl. Mix well and let stand in a sieve for about 20-30 minutes to draw the zucchini juices out. In the meantime mix flour with the eggs. Add feta cheese and parsley. When 30 minutes are over, squeeze the grated zucchini mix with your hands to extract as much juice as possible. This will avoid that zucchini fritters break up due to excessive moisture in the mix. Add flour/feta mix to the zucchini. Do not add extra salt, as feta and the residual salt on the grated zucchini is enough. Add pepper, if you like. Mix well.

Warm olive oil over medium heat. Fry zucchini patties, dropping a tablespoon of the mixture into the frying pan – one at a time.

If you are not sure of the density of the zucchini mix, fry one patty first as a trial. If you notice that it will break when turned on the other side, add one more tablespoon of flour to the mix. Fry one more patty again. If still not satisfactory, add 1 another tablespoon of flour. You avoid disappointments when continuing to fry the rest of the fritters.

Flatten the top of the patties gently to obtain round pieces. Fry until bubbles start to appear on the top side. Do not overcrowd the frying pan. It will be difficult to turn the patties on the other side. Turn over and fry on the other side. Fritters should have a nice brown color on both sides and cooked through. Drain on paper towels.

 

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