I came across a version of these fritters in one of the Italian cook books I have at the house and gave it a try primarily because it seemed like a quick, fun recipe to make and I had all the ingredients on hand. (Which is basically just zucchini and cheese!) I came up with a sauce for it, which to me made this already perfect dish even better. Over the past few months I have been playing around with it, adding this and that, substituting things and trying to perfect it. Here is one of the best variations I came up with. These are perfect as appetizers, party food or just snacks.
Method: Sauté, pan fry
½ cup flour
½ cup breadcrumbs (panko or Japanese breadcrumbs seem to work best)
1-2 Tbsp Parsley
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp fresh Ricotta cheese
2 Medium Zucchini
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp Mayo
1 ½ Tbsp Sour Cream (you can skip that and add more mayo instead)
2 tsp light mustard
1 tsp curry
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp paprika
1 tsp capers
Dash of hot sauce
Few teaspoons of cream or milk to make a sauce thinner (if needed)
Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add flour, parsley and breadcrumbs and mix well. Add cheeses and mix. Then shred zucchini (with a hand shredder) and keep mixing until your batter is smooth and well integrated. Add a dash of baking powder (optional) and let rest for about 15 – 20 minutes or longer.
Preheat a sauté pan or a fry pan on medium or medium high heat until hot and add some Canola oil to it. You want a decent amount (2 -3 tbsp or so) enough to cover the pan. Using a tablespoon shape fritter dough into small round portions and lower into the hot pan and sauté on one side for 3-4 minutes, then 2-3 minutes on the other side. You should have a nice dark golden sear on each side. Serve hot with the sauce as an appetizer or just finger food.
Tips & Tricks:
I use Trader Joe’s sweet and sour mustard – it seems perfect because it’s light, flavorful and doesn’t overpower the sauce. Don’t add strong mustard here: skip completely if needed.
For crying-out-loud, don’t flip these back and forth – I hate to see people do that to food. When you sear something you let it develop a crust (a sear) by leaving it alone and letting brown in the pan. If you fear burning, lift up one side lightly to check and flip if done.
Cookware: Cast iron skillet for moister fritters or heavy gauge stainless steel for a crisper seared edge. Both are good just a slightly different result.
I always add a little cream / milk to delude the thickness of the sauce. But you definitely don’t want to add too much. Play around with it to see what works best for you.
Variations: For a sharper, stronger taste add some blue cheese or Gorgonzola instead of ricotta. Feta cheese will work beautifully as well. I recently made these with a mixture of Gruyere and cheddar and really liked the chewier and “cheesier” feel of those cheeses. Play around with herbs and other ingredients. Adding sautéed jalapenos (you have to sauté those first, otherwise they will be too crunchy) yielded a really good result. Try coriander, curry, paprika and other spices.