In keeping with my garden theme during this bountiful time of year, the past week was officially declared Zucchini Throwdown at She’s Cookin’ and I’ll be sharing three simple + seasonal recipes for this most prolific summer squash. First up is a recipe from Chef Michael Symon’s Easter Goes Greek spread featured in Bon Appétit‘s April issue.
Michael’s big personality and bawdy sense of humor had me smiling as I read his tips for preparing this holiday feast, like #4 “Go Hard – lots of ouzo, straight up, no retsina!” , and #5 “Put the Fun in Dysfunction – When you get a bunch of Greeks in a room it gets very emotional. I explain to my friends that regardless of the yelling or crying, it’s all a sign of happiness.”
Plus, I’m crazy for Greek food – helloooo, did you see my post on the Taste of Greece? – and everything from the Lamb Chops with Lemon to the Walnut and Pistachio Baklava had me salivating! But what earned the dog-eared page was the Zucchini Keftedes because I’m always on the lookout for ways to morph the zuke into something fabulous.
Keftedes are actually Greek meatballs and in the recipe head notes Michael referred to them as zucchini fritters, which is what I would call them – either way it’s a delicious vegetarian dish with flavors of bright lemon and mint and salty feta, perfect as a starter or several fritters make a satisfying and delicious vegetarian main dish.
Zucchini Keftedes with Feta
from Michael Symon for Bon Appétit, April 2011
1 ⅓ pounds medium zucchini, ends trimmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt*
½ cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill*
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
Canola oil (for frying)
Garnish: Greek yogurt (plain or reduced-fat)
* These were the only two changes I made: I didn’t use salt due to Don’s low-sodium diet and I left out the dill (not a fan) and I can’t imagine the keftedes being any better 🙂
1. Grate zucchini on large holes of box grater onto a clean kitchen towel. Sprinkle zucchini with kosher salt. Let zucchini stand at least 30 minutes to an hour. Roll up the zucchini in the towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
2. Place zucchini in a medium bowl. Mix in green onions, mint, garlic, lemon zest, and black pepper. Gently stir in panko and egg, then the feta.
3. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment or foil. Using about 2 tablespoons zucchini mixture for each, shape mixture into patties; place on baking sheet. Chill at least 1 hour. Can be made 4 hours ahead. Keep chilled.
4. Pour enough canola oil into heavy large skillet to be ¼ inch in depth. Heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add patties to skillet. Cook until golden and cooked through, adjusting heat if browning too quickly, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels.
Arrange keftedes on platter. Top each with a dollop of yogurt. Serve warm or at room temperature.