Late in the Summer there is always an abundance of zucchini, you’re pretty much guaranteed to receive at least 3 per week in your seasonal fruit and veg box! I have two solutions to all your zucchini-using-up needs, one of which I’ll post in the next few weeks, but today I’m all about the fritters – one of my favourite ways to enjoy zucchini. There is the common belief that everything is more delicious when fried… But I promise these are more special than that! Like a sweeter version of a traditional potato latke and paired with a basil scented and lemony “sour cream”, these fritters are a delicious and zesty Summer meal. Suitable for any time of the day, these fritters are as at home as a party canapé as they are with salad as a light lunch or as part of a cooked weekend breakfast (maybe with some grilled tomatoes and a fried or poached egg).
Fry the fritters in a cast iron pan if you have one. All the stress of a stuck fritter that keeps losing its crisp edge is alleviated when using cast iron, its ability to evening distribute heat makes it easier to fry them on a low heat and cooks through a thicker fritter without burning the outside. The process of salting the zucchini, and then straining its liquid, brings out the sweet flavour from an otherwise sometimes unexciting vegetable. Another benefit of removing the water from the zucchini is that it requires less flour to form a batter and therefore results in a fritter that’s less cakey and higher zucchini content.
The accompanying lemon basil “sour cream” recipe yields a fair bit more than you will need for the fritters, but it will keep at least a week in an airtight jar in the fridge… By all means, feel free to half the recipe if you wish, but it’ll easily be welcome at your table as a summer salad dressing (thin with water if needed), as a dip or spread or as an addition to anything that needs creaminess and a zesty punch.
Zucchini Fritters with Basil and Cashew Sour Cream
If you have a grater attachment to your food processor, this is a great time to use it as it creates a cleaner thread of zucchini and you end up with lots of nice crispy edges.
Makes about 8 fritters (8cm in diameter).
Basil and Cashew “Sour Cream”
1 cup cashews, soaked in water for 6-12 hours
1/3 cup water
1 small garlic clove
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
3/4 cup basil, picked from stem
Salt and pepper
3/4 lemon, juiced
1 tsp lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
For the basil and cashew “sour cream”: Process all the ingredients in a good food processor, vitamix (or other high speed blender) or with a stick blender, adding salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a clean jar and store in the fridge for at least a week.
For the fritters: If making the vegan version make the flax egg by stirring the ground flax seeds into 3 tablespoons of water and leaving to absorb for 5-10 minutes.
Using a box grater or a food processor with grater attachment, grate the zucchini into a medium sized bowl. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, thinly slice the onion and add it to the grated zucchini. Mix in the salt and leave for 10 minutes. Remove the excess liquid from the zucchini and onion by either pressing the mix against the edge of a colander with a spoon, or ringing it out in cheesecloth or a clean tea towel. Return the drained zucchini and onion to the bowl and taste, adding more salt if needed. Add the egg or flax egg, flour and baking powder, stirring to form a batter.
Heat olive oil in a fry pan (skillet), preferably cast iron, over medium to high heat. Drop in spoonfuls of batter, with plenty of space around them, and fry on one side for 3-4 minutes. Flip the fritters and finish frying them, 2-3 minutes. Serve at once with basil and cashew “sour cream”, or place on a plate in a preheated oven (100C), to keep warm, if needed.