Tag Archives: summer squash

Summer Squash Fritters

9 Jul

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Holy smokes, I’ve fallen head over heels for fritters!

Maybe the fact that the word “fritter” implies fried, I have steered clear of anything fritter-related in my kitchen. Until NOW.

…and I’ve had my share of deep fried apple fritter mania in the past (Gosh, I was so young here. This was an event at the restaurant I used to work at where I had to make tons of apple fritters, I was scooping batter out of buckets!).

pizzaiolo fritters

I shall steer clear no more…these Summer Squash Fritters are lightly pan-fried on a cast-iron skillet, and they totally bust my fears of frittering at home. They are like potato latkes, but a bit healthier and more colorful.

I’ve been making so many quick pasta dinners and taco/quesadilla/migas dinners these days, and tonight I was looking to do something out of my usual throw-together repertoire. Alas, Deb from the Smitten Kitchen has saved dinner once again.

These lil guys hit the spot. With a fried egg on top and a shake or two of hot sauce, I was dancin’ in my dinner seat! You just can’t beat the golden brown crisp exterior of these fritters, oozing supple and sweet summer squash in every bite.

The summer squash are lookin’ mighty fine at the New York City farmer’s markets right now. Vibrant, plump, and simply aching to be eaten.

And if summer squash is not your thing, how about Broccoli Parmesan Fritters? (also in season right now in NYC). Deb has quite an extensive fritter library, so go check it out here if zucchini is not your thing.

These fritters would be an excellent for brunch, too.

Now go fight your fritter fears and experience the goodness.

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Summer Squash Fritters

adapted from The Smitten Kitchen 

I got about 6 fritters out of this batch (serves 2 people as a main dish)

1 large zucchini + 2 small and thin yellow summer squash

1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus extra to taste

2 small garlic cloves, minced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese (I used a spicy chipotle cheddar. zing!)

freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

olive oil or canola oil, for frying

Trim the ends off of the zucchini/summer squash and grate the squash on the large holes of a box grater.

Place a colander over a large bowl. Add the grated squash to the colander with 1 teaspoon of salt and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, press the squash against the holes of the colander and drain as much excess water as you can. You will probably get a lot of liquid out of the squash! This reduces the likelihood of soggy fritters.

Dump the liquid down the sink, rinse the large bowl, and add the pressed grated squash to the bowl. Stir in the garlic, lightly beaten egg, cheddar, and black pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, then stir the mixture into the zucchini batter.

In a large heavy skillet (cast iron is indeed dreamy here), heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Drop small bunches (I used a 1/4 cup measure) of the zucchini mixture onto the skillet only a few at a time (I did 3 fritters at a time) so they don’t become crowded and lightly nudge them flatter with the back of your spatula. Cook the fritters over moderately high heat until the edges underneath are golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. If you find this happening too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Flip the fritters and fry them on the other side until browned underneath again, about 2 to 3 minutes more (if you are making a bigger batch, you can keep finished fritters in a 200 degree F oven to stay warm).

Enjoy with a poached or fried egg on top and a few good shakes of hot sauce, so the yolk runs down and around the fritters (I wish I took a picture of this but I chose to shove the goodness in my face instead!).

**Deb says: These fritters keep well, either chilled in the fridge for the better part of a week and or frozen in a well-sealed package for months. When you’re ready to use them, simply spread them out on a tray in a 325 degree oven until they’re hot and crisp again.

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Farmer’s Market-Inspired Tacos

22 Jun

It’s taco time!

Steamed corn tortillas, refried black beans, garlicky sauteed summer squash, blanched asparagus, fresh basil, cheesy shreds, salt n’ pepper.

There’s no better way to enjoy fresh summer vegetables.

I was inspired by the produce at the little farmer’s market near my apartment.

Not necessarily the traditional accouterment for tacos, but I went with my craving.

I’m a sucker for oven-roasted asparagus, but there was no way I was turning on the oven today, not in this 100 degree weather.

Instead, I boiled water in a large saucepan, salted the water, dropped the asparagus in for 3 minutes, took them out with tongs, and seasoned them with salt and pepper. All too easy and the result produced the most vibrant green asparagus I ever laid my eyes on.

Heavy on the garlic. That was my motto for the summer squash saute. I lightly fried the garlic in just a little oil, then added my thinly sliced squash to the pan, sautéing until browned. The trick is not to move things around too much in the pan. Only stir every 1-2 minutes or so.

Basil gets thinly sliced into a chiffonade (just roll the leaves and slice into thin ribbons) and added at the very end of cooking.

I purchased Thai basil, which has a more licorice/anise flavor profile versus the sweeter Italian basil. You can use either basil variety interchangeably. I was feeling experimental today so I went with Thai. Talk about fusion! Of course, you could always use cilantro or another herb of your choice in this dish.

Steaming tortillas is a cinch in the microwave.

Place two tortillas side by side on a large plate. Top with a damp paper towel. Place two more tortillas on top plus one more damp paper towel to cover everything. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute and you’ve got yourself steamed tortillas (enough for 2 servings= 2 corn tortillas per serving).

 Have you tried refried black beans yet? Tasty town. Out of the can and into a small pan to be heated with a little grated cheese on top. Protein power.

Taco assembly involves a hefty helping of beans spread onto a steamed tortilla. Topped with the summer squash saute, 2 or 3 asparagus spears, some extra grated cheese, and basil. Salt and pepper make my wheels turn. You can add some hot sauce or chili flakes if you wish.

Tacos in the summer are a must. Check out these charred corn and feta tacos that I made last summer.

Vegetarian tacos=rad.

Farmer’s Market-Inspired Tacos

1 bunch of asparagus

3 medium summer squash/zucchini

1 tablespoon oil (canola)

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

fresh basil, about 6-7 leaves picked

1 can refried black beans

about 1/2 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used sharp cheddar and smoked gouda)

corn tortillas

Snap the woody ends off of the asparagus. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Once the water boils, add some salt. Gently drop the asparagus into the water for 3 minutes. Take the asparagus out of the water with tongs, season with salt and pepper, and set aside. Dump out the excess water.

Halve and thinly slice the summer squash. In a pan (you can use the same pan as above so long as you dry it out), heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the squash and saute until browned. Only stir every 1-2 minutes so that the squash can get nice and golden brown. Add the chili powder and some salt. Roll the basil leaves up and slice them into thin ribbons. Once the squash is nearly done cooking, stir in the basil leaves and turn off the heat.

To prepare the beans, open the can and place the contents into a small saucepan. Heat on low. Add about half of the grated cheese and stir into the beans until melty.

To steam the tortillas, place tortillas onto a plate with damp paper towels between each tortilla. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute or until soft and pliable.

To assemble the tacos, spread a hefty amount of beans onto a tortilla. Add some squash. Place 2 or 3 asparagus spears on top. Garnish with extra cheese, basil, salt, and pepper.

You’ve done well, my friends.