Photo by Donna, from Live To Cook

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)

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49 Wonderful responses to “Zucchini Fritters Recipe”

  • Chef Gwen

    Beautiful photo, Donna! Looks like it’s frying in sugar syrup — just before it starts to caramelize, don’t you think? Just gorgeous.

  • Sherry Bellamy

    Hmmm. Why DO we grow so much zucchini? Last year I planted two seeds, ended up with two plants only, in an effort to be conservative. I still had many pounds of excess zucchini….it just grows with such maniacal zeal. It sneaks up on you. One day you’ve got some nice zucchini flowers for stuffing and frying….a few days later you’ve got zucchini canoes on the lawn.For novice gardeners it’s kind of a rush to see just how much vegetal material you can get from one tiny seed!

    This looks like a good recipe, one that could be tweaked in many different ways. Awesome photo, too.

  • Jai

    Zucchini needs aggressive seasoning to really bring out its flavor. Your fritters look delicious and I agree, frying zucchini is the best way to prepare it. Pan-fried with garlic until it caramelizes adding thyme and tossing it with linguine is a favorite summer recipe. Ciao!

  • YOD

    The Barefoot Contessa made a similar dish (she called them pancakes) in the spring, so it’s been nice to have an alternative way to prepare zucchini (instead of bread, or sauteed).
    Why do we grow so much? I guess I grow it because I feel like I am getting the most bang for my buck. But yes, they sure do get to be tiresome!

  • Susan

    Nice variation on zucchini fritters. My husband decided he wanted to do the garden this year. I warned him about planting 3 zucchini plants and 3 yellow crook necks, but he did it anyway. You know the rest..it’s like living a Hitchcock movie.

  • Caroline

    I can’t get enough zucchini, personally, and think it’s silly to fry something that is so delicious and versatile un-fried. Nevertheless, the Mediterranean flavors in these fritters are extremely appealing!

  • Adam

    I made zucchini fritters but I used “Ratio” to devise my own.

  • Not - Adam

    (that was entirely meant as a joke – didn’t come across like it though – sorry!) (note to self – sarcasm doesn’t read well…)

    • Rhonda

      Oh, but it does. I enjoyed it very much! :) I like your sense of humor.

  • Paula - bell'alimento

    This is a perfect recipe for all that zucchini floating around right now : ) I also adore stuffed zucchini blossoms. I’ve heard good things about Michael Symon’s book & I think I’m going to have to break down & get it now! Thanks for sharing.

  • One Swell Foop

    Fritters are at their most fantastic when light and fluffy. Try whipping the egg white into a loose foam before adding the flour.

    One of my favorite recipes is the Shrimp and Corn Fritters from Hot and Hot Fish Club. Fresh, very ripe corn (Silver Queen if you can get it), chopped shrimp, chopped red bell pepper, some shallot or onion if you feel like it. Add these things to the loose egg whites and flour (or use a flour/rice flour mix if you want), incorporate, fry, top with a dollop of remoulade.

    Living in Portland, Or, as I do now, I understand that yankees think a dollop of anything fried is a fritter. Consequently, you wind up with very heavy and sometimes starchy fried things that fill you up in a few bites. these should be snacks, not a meal!

  • Victoria

    Luisa over at The Wednesday Chef has a recipe for Diana Kennedy’s Meatballs in Tomato and Chipotle Sauce that includes (for 24-ounces of chopped meat) a medium zucchini finely chopped – and does not breadcrumbs of any kind.

    Every now and then when I am making meatballs that are not that particular recipe, I substitute a finely chopped zucchini for the breadcrumbs, and it really works well.

    Right now the medium zucchini are thin skinned and lovely with not too many seeds, so if doesn’t sound too odd, you might want to try it.

    Last week I did it with a riff on my grandmother’s meatballs – a beaten egg, one-half pound chopped beef, one-half pound chopped pork, a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of chopped parsley, half a medium zucchini chopped finely, and what seems like a lot of freshly grated Parmesan cheese – a feathery pile on a plate – mixed together, made into meatballs, and sauteed in olive oil until done. (The amount of cheese I use is what iI add until the mixture is not too wet.) I served the meatballs right from the frying pan with rigatoni tossed lightly with Marcella’s sauce that is made with tomatoes, butter, and onion on the side. It definitely was pasta and meatballs, but the meatballs were not in the sauce.

  • Roberta Schwartz Wennik

    I love your idea of mixing mint, dill and scallions into the zucchini. With zucchini being a rather bland vegetable, your seasoning gives it a great punch.

    With my living in the Pacific Northwest and having tall trees surrounding our property, unfortunately growing produce is out of the question. Unless I can get to the farmer’s market on Saturdays to buy zucchini, I’m stuck getting them at the market. I’m shocked to have to pay $1.99 a pound for what grows like a weed. So enjoy CSA produce when possible.

  • Deba Wegner

    I have a gardener across the street who’s crop got a little out of hand in the warm summer we had last year (no danger of that this year) here on the north end of Lake Washington in the Seattle area. He started by giving me two monsters, early in the year. (I was able to save my flowers for stuffing.) I tried a relish, like a sweet, hot pickle relish. Canned it….it was KILLER…afterwards, I took all he could give me. There isn’t much savory…this won’t improve…I used it all winter…in legume salads, as a condiment to meats, tossed with pasta and whatever, in remoulade sauce. It is truly the gift that keeps on giving…..the “remoulade” is 50% plain yogurt, 50% good jarred or homemade mayo, a little minced onion (even though the relish has onion and bell peppers in it) additional raw is nice for a punch and then any fresh herbs I happened to have growing, or not according, to what the main event is….my blog post about canning the relish…..this was not hard and it has become a pantry must have.
    http://yourrecipeforsuccess.blogspot.com/2009/07/bounty-of-summer-early-in-nw-this-year.html

  • Tags

    Demons of zucchinity, begone!

    (My apologies to Scott Adams and the Dilbert gang, especially Dogbert)

  • Rhonda

    Great post. Great recipe.

    I too, cannot understand why so much zucchini is grown.

    Everyone needs to go and get a copy of “Live to Cook”.

    Personally, I recommend — well everything, but the Tomato and Blue cheese soup is “serious”.

    In fact, it is so good, you can probably get away with charging friends, neighbors, maybe even customers more money than Chef Symon can in his restaurant in Cleveland.

    ;)

  • mommyk8

    I too belong to a CSA, and it’s Zuke season up here too. I have a zillion awesome recipes (including my mom’s famous Zuke Relish that tastes just like regular relish) BUT my favorite thing to do with them right now is….hollow them out and stuff them with sausage. It’s easy: cut them in half lengthwise, scoop out the guts – but not too much – they still have to retain their shape. Brown up some sausage, mix about 1/2 the zuke guts in with the meat. Then stuff as much as you can in each “boat”. Cook until the zuke boat is tender. Then top with bread crumbs and a little cheese if you’re feeling cheesey and pop it under the broiler until browned. I know you’ve got some sausage kicking around ;) Give it a try!

    • Rhonda

      Mommyk8

      Please don’t do this.

      You have not only found Ruhlman’s site (which will teach you the right way to do things) but my mother’s favorite recipe.

      She uses Jimmy Dean sausage and then after we tell her how good it is we have to race to the back of the garden and puke over the fence.

      This is very time consuming. Please do not put your family through this. We all have heavy schedules to adhere to.

      We all love our mothers and will never ever, ever, tell them the truth about their cooking except at our own peril.

      Michael has posted some very easy recipes including one for zucchini crudo, if I recall.

      Your family loves you. Anything you make for them with love will be much appreciated.

      Make it easy, make it good.

      If I can do it, so can you!

        • Rhonda

          Adam, unfortunately, not kidding this time.

          When I go home to visit the parents, there is inevitably one meal with a giant zucchini stuffed with Jimmy Dean sausage topped with bread crumbs and a cheese(ish) topping from a plastic green can.

          Because my mom made it, I am grateful and I love her for it but it still is usually puked up at the end of the day because Merck and Pfizer have not yet invented a gastrointestinal sedative to circumvent Kraft and Monsanto

          Sometimes we were recipients of this creation after it was frozen and defrosted. Then tomato sauce was put on top. Good times, good times….

          I think this is why my brother was a genius cook and mastered duck a l’Orange at 12 years old or so and taught me how to eat snails when he was 8. After he passed away, I had no choice but to learn how to cook.

          We were hungry after school and had to take preventative measures to protect ourselves from the family dinner.

          :)

    • send9

      Or, you know, you could try eating the actually zucchini sometime instead of scooping it all out and drowning it in sausage and cheese.

  • luis

    This is precious…. I will make this dish Michael. zucchini fritters. Who would have thought of frying it?. I always felt this is a very bland vegetable and it is but preparing it this way will make it taste very fine.
    As always I have copied down the recipe thank you. You might make a zucchini lover out of me. the tip of using a 1/4 cup tin to shape it is also great. Lots of other ideas here too which is also great. I am thinking frying the zucchini after preparing it in your recipe sans the flour and topping a pizza with it.

  • Barbara @ VinoLuciStyle

    Great idea and partially because I love zucchini dishes that call for grated zucchini. I freeze 2 cup quantities in freezer bags so I can make zucchini breads in the winter…now wondering how these fritters would be cause even in the winter the frozen stores can be overwhelming if I plant two lousy plants!

    Looks so damn good that now wish I had one that just the other day I would have looked at and been sick of!

  • John G

    The best recipe I devised for zucchini is to stuff them in homemade pasta. (Yes, this is an original recipe. If anyone needs more complete step-by-step instructions [most readers of this blog, if I judge correctly, do not] email to etherdog gmail com.)

    Make ravioli dough
    Grate and salt your zucchine to remove moisture
    Toss with pinenuts and sesame oil and a light amount of your favorite herb. This is a good time to employ your tarragon for a bit of anise flavor, or marjoram. Rosemary isn’t so good, and basil is just so darned good with everything that you ought to give it a break. The mint in the Ruhlman/Symon recipe IS a stroke of genius, but it won’t go well with a cream sauce, I would wager.
    Make make a light cream sauce, a thin bechamel, or just lightly fry some thin slice garlic in extra-vrigin olive oil and toss with your cooked ravioli. This is great cold (or room temp), too.

    Easy, quick, and few ingredients. Moreover, you can make it ahead and freeze extra portions.
    People with think you are a genius with this creative use of zucchini!

  • Rois

    I am proud to say I did not plant zucs this year.I had one plant last year and had too much so we are taking a break from it .

  • Chef Jim A Traveling Culinary Artist

    Have always enjoyed Zucchini fritters but they can be fairly simple tasting, love the additions of scallion, mint and feta. Even though I have the book I’ve copied the recipe from here to my to be tried list! Thanx for pointing this recipe out!

  • Cookin' Canuck

    Beautiful photo! While I do enjoy grilled zucchini, I would never turn my nose up at a plate full of fried morsels. I agree with you about the overabundance of zucchini. Things are so desperate here that people leave bags of it on their neighbors’ porches and even go so far as to slip it into their cars. I have learned to always lock my doors!

  • SWoody

    Buckwheat Zucchini Pancakes -

    Very simply, buckwheat pancakes with a zucchini (or two) grated into the batter. But leave any sugar out of the basic recipe for the pancakes, the sweet doesn’t match well with the squashies.

    ALSO

    Slice the zucchini wafer thin (with a mandoline), blanch in salted water, chill in ice water, drain, and add other veggies and a vinaigrette of your choice. My partner the heart-healthy patient likes this one in particular, since all the salt he wants is in the blanching liquid.

  • bojj

    I’ve been making zucchini fritters for years but I love the addition of feta cheese to them. I also put corn in mine, it gives it a nice hint of sweetness!

  • Paul

    Here are my two rules about Zucchini. (1) it has almost no flavor of its own so what it tastes like is what you cook it with and (2) if it has any flavor at all it is in the skin so never use much of the inner pith. I agree with Michael … julienne the skins (about 1/8″ thick).

    I never (and this takes great diligence) let these suckers get more than 5 inches long and about 1.5 inches think. Beyond that and they get cut up for the compost pile.

  • Michelle

    Was it Erma Bombeck who said, if you see someone in the grocery store buying zucchini then there’s a person with no friends? This stuff is easy to grow, the main reason for it’s popularity I assume. Every summer it’s the same ol’ challenge, what to do with all the zucchini? My farmers market is overflowing with it, so I’m thinking of turning it into an alternative fuel, running my car on it, it’s the best use for this tiresome vegetable I can think of.

  • Andra @ FrenchPressMemos

    I love zucchini fritters! I grew up with them in Romania and can never get enough although we haven’t really make them that often anymore. Zucchini actually works well in summer sour vegetable soups (those made in Eastern Europe for sure) but also in a gratin in lieu of potatoes, a stir fry, or on the grill! So many ways to deal with that huge supply of zucchini.

  • Dana Slatkin

    Here’s another way to put a dent in that endless zucchini supply (reminds me of Fantasia – you know, the scene where the broomsticks are chopped in half and multiply?) – zucchini sandwich spread. Have the post up at my website this week.

    Basically, combine heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saute pan. Saute a chopped leek, two minced garlic cloves and 2 medium zucchini which have been cut into rounds. Takes about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

    Put it all in a food processor or blender and add a small amount of fresh basil or oregano, leaves from a sprig of mint and the juice of 1 lemon. Chop finely and you’re done – a zucchini sandwich spread. Two more zucchini bite the dust

  • Ann LaGravenese

    While sitting here reading this, my caretaker, Mario (from Ischia), just walked into my Connecticut kitchen with a tupperware of baked stuffed zucchini from his wife Anna. Stuffed with a lovely light tomato risotto, basil and parmesan and mozzarella cheeses with some fresh breadcrumb on the top. It sounds heavy, but she has a very light touch. Deelish!

  • best cook

    Love this Zucchini Fritters Recipe, it would perfectly match with tzatziki yogurt dip.

  • Bert

    Mr. Ruhlman,
    I remember when you called the Zucchini bland on Iron Chef America, and your co-judge got SUPER pissed and devoted the rest of the night to being an irritating holier-than-thou. Of course, I think both of you were right; zucchini does have a pleasant, VERY subtle flavor, but if that flavor is hidden and reserved to the extent that it is in zucchini, then the vegetable is by all definitions bland.

  • CopyKat Recipes

    I love the sound of this recipe, my zucchini have been sliced, dipped in egg wash, and then dredged in cracker crumbs for years. The yogurt in these fritters sound so delicious!

  • kaela

    I made these the other night (delicious!), then blogged about it, then a friend of mine made them for dinner. Fried zucchini goodness, sweeping the nation!

    Thanks much for the recipe; am now dreaming up all sorts of variations.

  • Jennifer

    Made these tonight and my picky 4 yo who eats nothing loved them. The flavor was wonderful and I plan to make them a summer staple. It’s clear, however, that I need frying lessons. They stuck to the pan and I was peeved.

  • Lynne

    Lovely photo! My daughter just moved to the Cleveland area and I’m looking forward to visiting and going to Lola or Lolita. I always love reading your blog and am so impressed with Donna’s photos.

  • John D

    I did this recipe last night as an app for the wife and 2 year old. The yogurt with dill and lemon zest is really great. I think when (not if) I do these again, I’ll use a little less feta, I thought they were a bit gooey. But that sauce…

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