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Zucchini Fritters (Kolokithakia keftedes)

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Serves eight.

Yields 14 to 18 fritters.

  • Make the menu:
    A Greek Meze Party
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 93

If you’re making both the fritters and the lamb meatballs, you can strain and reuse the fritter oil to fry the meatballs. Use a metal sieve, as the oil will be hot.

  • 1 lb. zucchini (about 3 medium)
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2-1/4 oz. (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fennel stalks and leaves (save the bulb for another recipe)
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 1-1/2 cups olive oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup grated Greek kefalotyri cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Trim the zucchini and coarsely grate them on a box grater. Put the grated zucchini in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as possible with your hands.

In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, onion, flour, fennel, dill, baking powder, oregano, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper and mix well. The mixture should be just moist enough to form into patties. For each fritter, press 2 generous Tbs. of the mixture into a patty about 3 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick. Arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet.

Pour the oil into a 12-inch skillet to a depth of 1/4 inch. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it begins to ripple and bubbles immediately when the edge of one patty is dipped into it. Using 2 slotted metal spatulas (one to lift a patty and the other to push it off the spatula), add as many patties as will fit in the pan without crowding and fry, flipping once, until golden brown and crisp on both sides, 1 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the fritters to a paper-towel-lined plate and repeat with another batch, adding more oil as needed.

Arrange the fritters on a platter and sprinkle with both cheeses. Serve warm.

Make Ahead Tips

The fritters can be made and shaped several hours ahead; fry them close to serving. Keep warm in a 200°F oven until ready to serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 80; Fat (g): fat g 3.5; Fat Calories (kcal): 35; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 1; Protein (g): protein g 3; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 11; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 190; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 5; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Terrific! These were a last minute stand-in for a ruined appetizer for our Greek dinner party. I didn't use a non-stick, only used a little oil (which I felt made them crispier than using non-stick and all that oil), didn't have time to salt and drain before, but they came out great. Out of all the apps, this was the biggest hit. Skipped the cheese on top, served them with tzaziki.

I agree - no need for all that oil. I used a cast iron skillet and just a bit, which gives them flavor vs. non-stick skillet with no fat flavor. Didn't have fennel bulb, so just used a bit of fennel leafy bits from the garden. Paired it with cooked ground lamb (allspice), pitas, chopped tomatoes and cukes and Greek yoghurt, since we didn't have feta. All that oil is ridiculous. Who writes that stuff, the olive oil marketing association?

We liked the idea and mostly used it. But we decided to use a nonstick skillet and only a small amount of oil, which worked just fine. The fritters themselves would benefit from salting the zucchini before squeezing out the water and maybe a tiny bit more flour. The cheese on top seemed like overkill, so we did some with and some without; both were eaten and much enjoyed.

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