With one final, massive zucchini in my crisper drawer, plentiful fresh herbs on my back porch and thoughts of my impending trip to Greece, I decided to try my hand at Kolokithokeftedes. These zucchini fritters have not usually been my favorite mezethes (small plates of tasty morsels) but after this batch, I may find myself reaching for them more often. Usually made with mint or dill, I used both. I also thickened them up a touch with some flour and panko bread crumbs. With a dollop of homemade garlicky cucumber yogurt sauce, or tzatziki, they were truly delectable.
Just looking at this photo, my mouth is watering remembering the pleasing contrasts. The crispy warm fritter with a cool spread of yogurt sauce. The fresh cucumber aroma in the tzatziki against the bite of plentiful garlic. A healthy sprinkle of salt brought out the green flavors of the zucchini, dill, mint and green onion.
I made this batch quite big and it was filling enough for our meal. However, if you want to impress friends with a true Greek feast, I have a plan! Invite a dozen people over and gather around a table, preferably outdoors. Make a number of small plates including these fritters, some meatballs, easy fried peppers, and perhaps some skordalia or tarama for spreading on bread. You could stop there OR follow with this Greek salad and pasticcio. Of course, don’t forget the ouzo (which we sipped last night alongside these fritters) and perhaps some Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts for dessert. Sounds like a lot of food but do it Greek style… sit for hours talking, eating, drinking and laughing late into the night.
Greek Zucchini Fritters – Kolokithokeftedes
2 medium to large zucchini coarsely grated
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
4 green onions including green parts, chopped
3 Tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1 large egg
1/2 cup flour
4 Tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
Wash zucchini. With skins on, grate them with the coarse side of a grater. Put the grated zucchini in a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let sit and drain for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
Remove the zucchini by the handful, squeezing to remove as much liquid as you can. Put it in a bowl with herbs, feta and green onions. Mix with a fork. Add the lightly beaten egg and stir. Add flour and bread crumbs. The mixture should be wet but not watery. Mix in a healthy dose of salt, I prefer coarse sea salt.
Heat olive oil in a pan about 1/8 inch deep covering the entire pan. When hot, scoop out a spoonful of the zucchini mixture and put it in the pan. Let it cook about 3-4 minutes or until brown and then flip them. Cook another 3-4 minutes until browned. Remove fritters and place on a paper towel -lined plate to remove some excess oil. Serve hot with tzatiki sauce.
Tzatziki (Cucumber Yogurt Dip)
2 cups plain yogurt (or 2 cups, thick Greek yogurt
2 large cucumbers
1 1/4 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespon white vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and white pepper to taste
If using regular yogurt, put yogurt in a cheesecloth lined sieve over a bowl. Drain several hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Greek yogurt is thicker and does not need the draining. Peel, seed and coarsely grate cucumbers. Drain well. Add garlic, vinegar, olive oil, sat and pepper to cucumbers. Mix well. Add drained yogurt and blend.