Ahhhhh zucchini. It wouldn’t be the end of summer without it around here. The wonderful green squash that until just now I’ve been misspelling my whole life. (Thanks, spell checker Z-U-C-C-H-I-N-I). Seriously – such a versatile and nutritious vegetable…that no one else in my house will eat unless I make up clever names for the dishes they’re in. When I make Zucchini Bread, for instance, I tell my eight year old, “I made something like banana bread.” “What is it?” “I told you, it’s like banana bread and it’s good. Now eat it.” Amazingly, she is content with that. I am so smart. S-M-R-T.
These fritters we lovingly refer to as “Zucchini Pancakes”. Or just “Pancakes”, depending on who’s in the room. They are crispy, salty, bright with lemon zest, and yummy in a we-don’t-ever-get-to-eat-real-fried-food-at-home sort of way. These are just shallow fried in a cast iron pan, not deep fried, but they are so so so good. I could eat just these for dinner. And I have. More than once.
And the dip is super easy if you choose to make it. They don”t really need it. They’re so good by themselves. But as I always say,er, think, more like – anything fried deserves a dip companion. It just seems lonely without one. You understand. Anyway, you can throw it together in two minutes if you like.
Here’s what you need. If you are making these with regular flour you do not need the Xanthan Gum. Oh, and, pretend there’s only one zucchini there. I shredded them both and had WAY more than the two cups I needed so the extra went to good use this morning in Zucchini Bread/Something Like Banana Bread Bread.
First, cut the end off your zucchini.
And chop it into a few lengths short enough to stand up in the top of your food processor. I’m using the shredding attachment here. If you don’t have a food processor you can of course just grate the zucchini manually. It’s not hard and it doesn’t take much longer than using the machine. I just can’t resist using my gadgets when I have the opportunity.
And shred it all up. Like I said, you only need one zucchini. This is both and provided much more than I needed.
Next, zest up a lemon being careful not to dig so deep that you cut into the white pith beneath. Zest = tart goodness. Pith = bitter and yucky awfulness. Blech.
Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out all that lovely juice. Then pick the seeds out of the bowl that you first forgot to remove from the lemon.
Add in some cayenne pepper, just to punch up the flavor a little bit. Not enough to make them super spicy.
And some salt. Of course. I keep that little bowl of kosher salt on the counter so I can throw a good three-fingered pinch in whenever I need to.
Now add in 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese. Because what is life without cheese. Sorry mom, my BFF and anyone else out there who can’t eat cheese. Obviously if you can’t eat cheese, just leave it out. Also, pour in 4 oz (1/2 cup) milk (not shown because I’m dumb).
Add in one egg to the mix. The one-handed egg crack, YES! I’d like to thank Guy Fieri for showing me that trick.
Now we mix it up and add our dry ingredients. I almost never use a separate bowl for the dry ingredients. School of lazy right here. I measure mine on the scale. It’s more accurate that way and you don’t have to dirty measuring cups. Four ounces of flour of any kind you care to use. I’m using my GF All Purpose Flour Blend. If you’re using regular old wheat flour it works out to about 3/4 cup.
That’s the Xanthan gum I told you not to worry about unless you are making this gluten free. Oh, and now would be a great time to throw in the baking powder. Not shown because the baby kept reaching for my camera while I was trying to take pictures. Thank you for your patience.
Toss the dry ingredients together a little and then mix them all into the wet mass beneath it.
Now, grab your gallon size bottle of vegetable oil and pour in a splashy puddle’s worth into your pan. I LOVE my cast iron pan for anything that deserves a crispy crust. It’s gotta be something real special to drag this lady out for though… she weighs about 25 lbs.
Heat your oil over Med-Med High heat and plop in spoonfuls of batter. They should sizzle excitedly when they hit the oil.
Fry for about 2-3 minutes per side, until they’re nice and crispy and golden, using your spatula to flatten them down into little pancakes. More surface area = more crunchies.
When done remove your fritters to a paper towel lined plate to soak up the excess oil. In the darkest place in your kitchen proceed to sprinkle them with more kosher salt. THIS is where you really want/need kosher salt in your kitchen. Regular salt just is not the same when it comes to finishing fried food.
And there we have it! Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Shallot Mayo (so simple to make I did not bother taking pictures). Salty, crispy, lemony, vegetable goodness. I think I ate nine of them. Even my eight year old ate them. And for those of you that know my eight year old – that is a BIG THING. Here’s the easy to print version.
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 large)
4 oz milk
1 large egg
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt plus more for sprinkling
4 oz flour (wheat or otherwise)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Xanthan gum (only if using gluten free flour)
Vegetable oil for frying
Remove ends from and shred one large zucchini. In a medium bowl combine zucchini with the zest and juice of one lemon. Add egg, milk, cheese and salt and stir to combine. Add flour, baking powder, cayenne pepper, and Xanthan Gum (if using), stirring dry ingredients together before mixing into the wet.
Heat a large heavy pan over Med-Med High heat and drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Cook 2-3 minutes and flip when bottom is golden brown. Flatten with spatula and cook 2-3 minutes more.
Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with kosher salt.
Serve immediately with dip as described below, if desired.
Makes about 20 fritters.
Lemon Shallot Mayo
3/4 cup Mayonnaise (I used Hellmann’s Canola Mayo to keep the calorie count reasonable)
1 shallot, finely diced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
a dash of cayenne pepper