With the summer solstice just around the corner, Joshua Tree is heating up into the 90s. At the local farmer’s market this weekend, I spotted some summer squash, and decided to jump into the new season.
Zucchini, a vibrant green summer squash, is this week’s featured ingredient.
Its name is derived from the Italian word zucchino, meaning small pumpkin.
This summer squash can grow up to a meter in length, but is usually harvested at under 8 inches. When zucchini are small, often growing with a flower attached to one end, they are most tender and sweet.
Zucchini is one of the easiest fruits to cultivate in temperate climates. It has a reputation among gardeners for overwhelming production. One good way to control over-abundance is to harvest the edible flowers. The flowers may be battered, stuffed, sautéed, baked, or used in soups. 1
Zucchini contain folate, potassium, vitamin A, and manganese. 2
This week’s recipe is for Zucchini Fritters. Zucchini fritters are a traditional Turkish dish they call mücver, and serve with a seasoned dipping sauce. I am not a huge fan of summer squash, but I love these warm, crispy cakes topped with plant-yogurt. They make a great after-school snack for your little ones, or appetizer at your next dinner party. 3
Recipe Variations: To maximize fritter crispiness, one can place grated zucchini in a wire strainer placed over a bowl, stir in salt, and let stand 10-20 minutes until liquid has drained out of zucchini. Wrap zucchini in paper towels/cheese cloth and press/wring out remaining moisture. Make fritters following recipe below (it may need a little more salt), and then crisp on a baking sheet in a 200F oven for 10+ minutes before serving.
Mexican-style: Substitute some zucchini with whole beans, corn kernels, diced red bell pepper, (minced jalapeño for spice lovers) and cumin in batter. Top fritters with salsa and guacamole.
Chinese-style: Substitute some zucchini with julienned red cabbage, grated carrots, and diced water chestnuts in batter. Top fritters with hoisin sauce.
Italian-style: Use mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Add diced red bell pepper, basil and oregano. Top fritters with tomato sauce.
Gluten-free: Substitute wheat flour with garbanzo bean flour or a gluten-free flour blend.
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 15-20 fritters
2 medium 8″, or 3 small 6″ zucchini, coarsely grated
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast or 1 cup plant-cheese spread
1 cup pureed silken tofu
pinch black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
Plant-yogurt for garnish
optional: 2 sliced green onions, 1 clove minced garlic
large holed grater
large heavy pan
1. Begin preheating pan on medium-low heat.
2. Place zucchini in bowl and stir in nutritional yeast/plant-cheese, pureed tofu, flour, pepper, salt (and optional onions and garlic if desired).
3. Spoon mounds (~2 Tablespoons each) of batter into pan, spreading them to form 3″ fritters.
4. Saute until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes each side.
5. Serve warm, topped with plant-yogurt.
Leftover fritters can be stored in a sealed container in fridge up to a week, or freezer up to 3 months. Then bake at 325F until crisp and hot.