These Zucchini (Courgette) Fritters were a quick, easy and delicious appetizer that I threw together last night. I don’t have too much to say about them aside from the fact that they smelled great while frying and were gobbled down hungrily, just moments after the plates hit the table. They can also work great as hors d’oeuvres if you cook them as small dollops instead of larger pancakes. I added a bit of smoked paprika, turmeric and cinnamon to the basic fritter recipe, which really made these guys pop, and added a great dimension to an otherwise simple dish.
The avocado-quark was a different take on the typical sour cream that is classically paired with these summer fritters. Quark is a soft-fresh cheese that comes in many varieties across the globe ranging in texture and flavor from a mild marscarpone or cream cheese, to what I had last night, a British quark that is virtually fat-free and more reminiscent of a strained yogurt. Had I realized this, I might have gone with a marscarpone instead, but the end result did work really well with the fritters.
The salad below the fritters was really just a simple garnish of baby arugula (rocket) with scallion (green onion), and cilantro (coriander) tossed with a little seasoned rice vinegar and olive oil. If you want to bulk up this dish into a full meal, add some shaved radish, fennel (anise), tomatoes and/or shaved raw zucchini to the salad.
So let’s get to it. The two main components for this dish are the fritter batter and the avocado quark. You have a lot of room to play with these recipes, so feel free to experiment and make substitutions where you like.
Fritter Batter- Makes about 6 large or 12 small or 20-25 hors d’oeuvres
- 1 large or two medium zucchini (green courgette)
- 1 lg. carrot
- 1 lemon (for zest)
- 1 scallion (green onion), sliced thin
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup coarse semolina or corn meal
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 lg. ripe avocado
- 1/2 cup quark (or marscarpone or sour cream)
- 1 scallion (green onion)
- A couple of sprigs worth of cilantro (coriander) leaves
- about 1 tsp. fresh lemon or lime juice
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Chives (garnish)
I don’t have too many fancy kitchen gadgets here in London, so I used a box grater to shred my zucchini and carrots, and zest my lemon. You can use a food processor or mandoline if you have one.
1. Peel the carrot and wash the outside of the zucchini. Cut the end of each on a bias (angle) as pictured below, which will help you get nice long strips.
2. Shred the zucchini and carrot, doing your best to keep it in long strips.
3. Place the shredded veg in a colander or cheese cloth and sprinkle with salt which will help release any excess moisture. Press as much liquid out of the veg as possible before moving on to the next step.
4. Wash the lemon well and use a zester, microplane or fine grater to remove the zest. Make sure you only zest the yellow part of the lemon, as the white pith underneath is extremely bitter.
5. Add the rest of the ingredients to the veg and mix with your hands to form the batter. It will be loose and sticky, like a chunky pancake mix.
6. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat (adjust heat while cooking if necessary) with a bit of olive oil. Spoon the batter into the hot pan, and use the back of the spoon to flatten and form the fritters.
7. Cook the fritters evenly on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side. If making a larger batch, keep your oven hot and transfer to a baking sheet after searing each side to finish cooking.
This part is really easy. Just place all ingredients in a food processor and blend together. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice.
…and voila! You’re all done. Serve the fritters over some dressed greens with a dollop of the avocado quark on top and garnished with some fresh sliced chives.