You probably have plenty of recipes that call for zucchini baked, grilled and stewed. I do too. So the first time I tasted a zucchini fritter at a community garden potluck, I was thrilled and inspired to do some research . . . What’s a fritter?
Technically, something that’s coated in a batter and fried. There are a lot of versions out there, most calling for grated zucchini in a batter with some sort of cheese. Personally, I’ve become partial to the Turkish version, Kabak Mucveri, because I really like feta and mint. Kabak Mucveri is typically eaten as a hot or cold appetizer and is served among several fingerfoods as a meze like tapas, but it’s also a great side dish. In Turkish cuisine, vegetables shine.
My version is light but not skimpy on flavor (I ate five the first time I made them). They have a crunchy outside and a flavorful center with the zucchini slightly crisp and bits of sharp feta and refreshing herbs in every bite. I prefer them served hot but they are also yummy at room temperature.
Tidbits – Zucchini:
- Since squash was domesticated in the Americas, most summer squash were introduced to the Old World after 1492, the time of European colonization. To the Romans, squash resembled other cucurbits belonging to other plant species and became integrated into the Mediterranean diet. Squash received the name of “calabash” and in Syria was called “zucco.” From this comes its present-day name, zucchini, according to the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture.
- Squash is now cultivated throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, China, India, and Indonesia.
- Zucchini has a high water content (95%), which makes the vegetable low in calories – about 25 calories per raw cup and nutritionally contain folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
Key, remove excess water from the grated zucchini (do not skip this step). If you need to plan ahead, make the fritters in advance and reheat.
Kabak Mücveri – Turkish Fritters
Serves 4 – Makes 18-20 fritters (2 1/4”)
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini, drained
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup feta, mashed
1/3 cup onion, diced small
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh dill or flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
- Grate zucchini with a cheese grater with large holes (if doing by hand, watch the knuckles). Let grated zucchini sit in a colander lined with a dish towel or cheese cloth for at least 15 minutes, allowing excess water to drain off.
- Prepare other ingredients while zucchini sits: mash feta cheese with a fork or your fingers to break up large chunks and chop onions and herbs.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk flour and eggs; when mixed thoroughly, add feta, onion, herbs, pepper and salt.
- Squeeze the zucchini in the towel to remove more liquid. Then, fold zucchini into the batter, mixing thoroughly. After mixing all ingredients, the batter will slightly thick. Use batter immediately – the longer it sits, the more runny the batter becomes.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When a drop of water sizzles on contact, add 1 tablespoon olive oil. If you are not using a non-stick pan, use more oil to film the bottom of the skillet. Ladle batter by the tablespoonful into the hot oil (note: a small cookie dough scoop works nicely). You can usually make five fritters at a time. After the edge has browned, turn each fritter over once. Cook time is about 1 to 2 minutes per side; adjust heat if necessary. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined surface. Repeat process with remaining batter.
- Serve hot or room temperature. Fritters can be made in advance and reheat nicely.
Size: smaller fritters (about 2 1/4”) are perfect for parties and small snacks. However, if you want a more substantial portion, drop 2 tablespoons of batter instead and adjust cooking time, as needed.
Herbs: mint, dill or parsley are traditional choices and can be substituted interchangeably.
Serve with: garlic-lemon yogurt sauce or slices of fresh tomato.