Oh my, oh my. . . These are almost too good. . . They might be the best thing to have ever happened to zucchini. . . They’re like, woah.
They might be the yummiest zucchini fritters ever and they are just in time for the Holiday Party Season! PLUS they are festive! RED AND GREEN (thanks bacon and zucchini!)… I’ll actually be making them for our little Christmas Eve dinner with a couple friends! Not only are they beyond delicious, they are easy peasy to make (caution: only serve these guys if you are prepared to have people ask for the recipe). Plus, I think they are the perfect fritter. Big claim, I know…
Zucchini fritters tend to be delicious no matter how you slice it. . . But these? These are just so good. . . They have the perfect balance of zest, richness, crunch, and salt. The added lemon gives them a really bright flavor, which is so rare in a fritter. Plus, how many times does a recipe call for cubed gruyere?! They are the perfect appetizer, or work great as a side dish. I love serving them with steak, since they feel light, but hearty. Light, but hearty?! How many things can you use those words to describe! Told you they are beyond!!!
Another fabulous thing about these babies. . . You can make ahead and pop in the oven to crisp up right before serving!
Ok. . . Let’s get started. First off–I should tell you, this recipe is SO simple to tweak. You can tailor it to your tastes and specifications easier than you can make a box of mac and cheese. Below, I’m going to share my favorite version to date. Just to be clear, you might come over for dinner someday to find I’ve omitted the bacon in favor of adding mushrooms or crumbled in manchego, instead of gruyere. . .
What You’ll Need
Cheesecloth and a fine mesh strainer – Don’t stress if you are cheesecloth-less… You can skip it, or use a tea towel
1 Lb Zucchini – About Two Large Ones – Grated
1/2 Tbsp Salt – Sprinkle this on shredded zucchini
1/4 Lb Gruyere – Diced (You could shred, but I promise, if you dice, it’s infinitely better… The salty chunks of gruyere ooze out of the sides in a way flimsy shreds never could)
1/4 Lb Diced, cooked bacon – You can add more!
1 Clove Garlic – Crushed
1/2 tsp Paprika
3 Zests of one Lemon Rind
2 Eggs – Lightly beaten
1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs – Add slowly, since depending on how watery your zucchini is, you might need significantly more or less bread crumbs than stated here
1 Tbsp Flour
Salt and Pepper to Taste
To Serve – Optional
1 Cup Ricotta – Homemade is crazy easy to make as outlined by Smitten Kitchen , but store bought works just as well here
A pinch of salt and pepper
5 Zests from above Lemon
Let’s get started!
Grate your zucchini and WATCH YOUR FINGERS! It grates down faster than you can spell zucchini!
Place zucchini over cheesecloth and fine mesh strainer and place over a bowl. Add 1/2 tsp salt and mix. Let sit for 30 minutes, then wring out as much water as you possibly can.
Here is the crazy easy part:
Preheat your frying pan to medium/medium high and add a couple glugs of olive oil – You won’t need much!
After draining zucchini, pop ALLLLLL the ingredients in a bowl and mix until fully, but loosely combined. You want the texture to feel wet, but with a touch of firmness.
I always like to fry up a small taste test to make sure there is enough salt and pepper. Plus, this will help you see if you need a little more bread crumb, flour, or egg. The batter needs to hold together, without being a hard clump. You want them to hold their shape, but be loosely defined. If too wet, I usually add another handful of breadcrumbs and another Tbsp of flour. If still too wet, I’ll add another beaten egg. You want it to look a bit like this…
If everything is to your specifications, FRY THOSE SUCKERS! About 3 minutes per side. Make sure they are cooked all the way through, nice and crispy brown on the outside, and ooooooozing that delicious gruyere cheese from every available side.
Place on a paper towel to drain off any little bits of oil. Pop in an oven for 10 minutes set to 200 F to add extra crispy, if you want!
Serve with a dollop of the ricotta mixture and devour!
Let me know how it goes! I hope you love them as much as I do. They’ve become a bit of a party staple for me…