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Monday, September 6, 2010

zucchini fritters with basil pistou

i often make zucchini fritters in summer, and generally don't fuss too much over what recipe i use. this one was in organic cooking, and since i knew right where to find it, when the urge struck to make zucchini fritters i went straight to it. in the middle of getting the batter ready, chatting away with rob about our respective days, i said, "beat the egg white? i wish i'd read this recipe all the way through before i started on it. *sigh.*" at that moment, beating the egg white seemed like way more of a hardship than was likely to be outweighed by the results. but i dutifully grabbed the whisk, whipped the egg white into self-supporting peaks, and stirred it into the glossy batter. it was so worth the 2 extra minutes of prep time when they puffed up fat and light, like savory, creamy, crunchy-on-the-outside pancakes. 

the pistou sauce is essentially a pesto without the pine nuts. i added a little lemon juice (dern near too much, honestly!) to brighten it from the original. fritters and sauce were perfect together, and were just as good for lunch the next day. cook in vegetable oil (we use peanut oil for shallow frying) and they shouldn't soak up much at all. 

zucchini fritters with basil pistou
adapted from organic cooking by ysanne spevack

1 lb zucchini, grated
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, separated
1 Tbsp olive oil
5 Tbsp water
vegetable oil for frying
salt and pepper

1/2 cup basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (or other italian hard cheese)
grated peel of one lemon, yellow part only
juice of one lemon, to taste
2/3 cup (or less) olive oil

begin by tossing the grated zucchini with salt (between a teaspoon and a tablespoon) in a sieve over a bowl and leave to drain for 1 hour. 

meanwhile, for the sauce:
finely chop basil leaves in a food processor. add crushed garlic and process into a paste. (these steps can combine into one using a mortar and pestle.) transfer to bowl and stir in grated cheese and lemon rind. add some of the lemon juice to taste. move back to food processor or blender and blend in oil, a little at a time, until it reaches consistency you want, and is well combined. (watch the oil, as i found that using the full amount was going to seem rather oily to me.) taste and adjust seasonings. 

for fritters: 
sift flour into a bowl and make a well in the center for the egg yolk and 1Tbsp olive oil. add a little of the 5Tbsp water and mix, incorporating a little of the flour and water into the egg mixture, adding more water as you go. stir/whisk until a smooth, glossy batter. season with salt and pepper and set aside for 30 minutes.

rinse grated zucchini well and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. stir into batter. beat the egg white until soft peaks form, and fold gently into the batter until well mixed. 

heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat. drop golf-ball sized amounts of batter into hot oil and cook 2-3 minutes each side, until golden brown. drain on paper towels. serve hot with the pistou.

zucchini-- alvarez farms
garlic-- stoney plains farms
egg-- stokesberry farms
basil-- us! 


  1. Yum! I am still sitting on my 21" zuchini waiting for time to make relish but I bet I'll have extra. Great idea on how to use it!

  2. mmm... zuke relish sounds great!