Anyone who’s ever had abundant zucchini in their garden (or been the recipient of overflow from such a garden) knows the creative challenge of coming up with enough ideas for using them up. This is one tasty option I devised for our garden’s output. I like to use both regular bread crumbs and the flakier, crisper panko bread crumbs for the different textures they provide. But you can omit the panko and simply use more regular crumbs, if you prefer. The optional sour cream sauce adds a bit of tangy richness.
1½ pounds zucchini, trimmed and coarsely grated
1½ teaspoons salt
½ cup minced sweet onion
½ cup plain dried bread crumbs
½ cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
2 tablespoons whipping cream or half-and-half
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño chile
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
Sour Cream Sauce (optional)
½ cup sour cream (light or regular)
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
¼ teaspoon garlic salt or regular salt
For the sour cream sauce, whisk together the sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, mint and garlic salt in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (Best if made at least 2 hours in advance so the flavors can meld.) Place the zucchini in a colander or sieve, add 1 teaspoon of the salt, and toss to mix evenly. Set the colander in a bowl or on a dish and let drain for 30 minutes. Squeeze the zucchini in your hands to remove excess water. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until frothy. Add the onion, both breadcrumbs, parsley, basil, whipping cream, jalapeño, mint, garlic and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir until well blended, then stir in the zucchini. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet, preferably non-stick, over medium heat. When hot, form 3 or 4 fritters in the pan, spooning about ¼ cup of the mixture for each and flattening them to 3-inch circles. Fry for 4 to 6 minutes, until browned and crisp, turning once.
Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while cooking the rest. Add additional oil if needed. Arrange the fritters on individual plates, top with a grinding or two of black pepper, and add a drizzle of the sour cream sauce over the tops.
Makes 6 to 12 servings.
The sauce can be made up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated. The zucchini fritters can be fried up to 30 minutes in
advance, though they are at their best served directly from the skillet. Reheat in a 325-degree oven before serving if needed.