Time for another vegetable challenge. I love playing this game with my vegetable adverse children because when there is a winner, everyone wins – my kids get some extra good nutrients in their body, and I feel good that I made something they like. This time it was zucchini/squash. I swear this should be a show on the Food Network – I can see it now, a different group of children are selected for each episode, based on a particular food that they cannot stand to eat. It is up to the cooks to turn that ingredient into something they find amazing. Then all those parents like me will use those recipes on our own kids. I am not talking about hiding the food in the dish somewhere, I think the kid actually has to recognize that the are eating this food for it to really be a challenge. Who’s with me on this one?
This was the first summer that we actually got a decent amount of zucchini from our garden – we didn’t get a lot of anything else, but at least we got some of that. All summer I made some wonderful sautéed zucchini with shallots and dill – which my husband and I absolutely loved – but the girls, not so much. I happened to be blog surfing one night, and saw this recipe on one of my favorite sites, Smitten Kitchen. Unfortunately I had eaten up all of the zucchini, but I did have a couple of yellow squash left, so I decided to give it a try. Wow were there incredible!!! They were so easy to make, and ridiculously delicious. I think the secret is warming them up in the oven before you serve them – they get a really nice crispy edge that way. The kids loved them – and they could tell they were made from squash…big winner. So – for all you Moms out there looking for recipes to turn your kids into vegetable lovers, where you are not spending hours mincing up the ingredients so the kids have no idea what they are eating – this one is for you.
- 1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini or yellow squash
- 1 teaspoon coarse or Kosher salt, plus extra to taste
- 2 scallions, split lengthwise and sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Olive or another oil of your choice, for frying
- Sour cream (optional)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Have a baking sheet ready.
Trim ends off zucchini or squash (or combination of the two) and grate them either on the large holes of a box grater or, if you have one, using the shredding blade of a food processor.
In a large bowl, toss squash with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and set aside for 10 minutes. Wring out the squash in one of the following ways: pressing it against the holes of a colander with a wooden spoon to extract the water, squeezing out small handfuls at a time, or wrapping it up in a clean dishtowel or piece of cheese cloth and wringing away.
Return deflated mass of squash shreds to bowl. Taste and if you think it could benefit from more salt (most rinses down the drain), add a little bit more (about 1/4 teaspoon). Stir in scallions, dill, egg and some freshly ground black pepper. In a tiny dish, stir together flour and baking powder, then stir the mixture into the squash batter.
In a large heavy skillet — heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop small bunches of the zucchini/squash mixture onto the skillet only a few at a time so they don’t become crowded and lightly nudge them flatter with the back of your spatula. Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. If you find this happening too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Flip the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned underneath again, about 2 to 3 minutes more. Drain briefly on paper towels then transfer to baking sheet and then into the warm oven until needed. Repeat process, keeping the pan well-oiled, with remaining batter. I like to make sure that the fritters have at least 10 minutes in the oven to finish setting and getting extra crisp. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and dill if desired.
Do ahead: These fritters keep well, either chilled in the fridge for the better part of a week and or frozen in a well-sealed package for months. When you’re ready to use them, simply spread them out on a tray in a 325 degree oven until they’re hot and crisp again.
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