FRITELLE DI ZUCCHINE (ZUCCHINI FRITTERS with smoked fish)

Versions of  vegetable fritters are found all over The Middle East, Greece and in Southern Italy and I have made different versions of these zucchini to take to different friends’ places on different occasions – they have come in very handy lately as starters with drinks over the silly, festive season. They are simple to make, transportable and you can alter the taste by using different herbs, accompaniments or dipping sauces.

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I usually add cheese and have used crumbled feta or grated pecorino or for a milder taste, ricotta. I fry my fritters in extra virgin olive oil or a mixture of butter and extra virgin olive oil but you can also bake them: place small moulds on a baking tray covered with baking paper and oiled at 200C for 10-15 minutes.

I topped these with slices of ocean trout (gravlax, cured with sugar, salt, vodka, lemon zest).

The sauce I chose to accompany the fritters was made with 1 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of each: French mustard, white wine vinegar, fresh chopped dill (or crushed dill seeds) and a ¼ tsp of sugar.

If not using a dipping sauce or topping them with smoked fish, I like to accompany them with anchovies (either white anchovies or packed in oil). I drain the anchovies well and then marinate them in extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, chopped parsley, grated lemon peel, black pepper and chopped spring onion. These can be made days ahead and kept in the fridge; they are good to eat with fresh bread as well.

500 g small- medium zucchini
salt (not too much) and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 eggs, lightly beaten
extra virgin olive oil for frying
1 spring onion finely chopped
2 tbsp of one herb cut finely: mint, oregano, fennel fronds, parsley, dill, marjoram or coriander
100g of feta or grated pecorino or ricotta (drained if using the tub variety)

4 tablespoons of plain flour with a teaspoon of baking powder

Grate the zucchini, add a little salt and leave to drain in a colander for at least 30 minutes. Squeeze out any residual moisture; the quantity will shrink to about half the original.
Combine everything together. The mixture should resemble a smooth batter.
Heat the oil and slide heaped tablespoons of zucchini batter in the hot oil. Flatten them with a spatula but only cook a few per time – turn them only once and drain on paper.
 smoked salmon
A version of this recipe can be found in my second book, Small Fishy Bites.

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