I always know we’re in the real thick of summer when the zucchini starts piling up on my kitchen counter tops. The past few weeks have brought us lots of heat and rain, and with that a rapidly producing garden. It’s not unusual to see me walking into the kitchen with a basket full of zucchini and cumbers – two of my favorite garden veggies (firstly because they’re so easy to grow, and secondly because I love pickles and fresh summer squash).
Even if you’re not growing your own, you’ll see zucchini popping up in your CSA shares, farmer’s markets and grocery stores at a rate that might leave you scrambling for ideas to make the most of this late summer vegetable. Not convinced that this prolific veggie may be overwhelming gardeners around the country? August 8th is “Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day” – a holiday poking fun at the lengths some people will go to rid themselves of counter tops brimming with green and yellow summer squash!
Growing up in a largely Italian neighborhood it was common to see giant zucchini plants sprouting from planters and small garden patches in an otherwise concrete city landscape. As a child I loved to eat breaded and fried zucchini and a walk through my garden in late July instantly takes me back to those summer days at my grandmother’s house, when the smell of zucchini and basil would float through the heavy summer air.
These Parmesan Basil Zucchini Fritters are simple to make and taste so fresh and light that they’re perfect for a summer lunch or simple dinner. The outsides are perfectly crisp, giving way to a light and flavorful inside that allows them to toe the line between healthy summer fare and comfort food.
These fritters are really easy to make – you’ll start by shredding your zucchini. I like to use my food processor for this step, but you can use a box grater as well. The next step is optional: I like to give my zucchini some time to drain. It’s really simple to do this and the end result is a crispier fritter!
Place the zucchini in a strainer over a bowl or in the sink. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt over the zucchini and lay a clean towel over the top. Place something heavy – a mug, jar, bowl or the drill your husband left in the kitchen the night before (whatever works!) – on top and allow the zucchini to drain while you prepare the rest of the batter.
While the zucchini is draining finely chop one onion (I use my food processor for this as well).
In a large bowl mix your beaten eggs, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and basil. Fold in the onion and zucchini.
From there you’ll heat olive oil over medium heat and begin scooping your batter into the oil – I like to use an ice cream scoop, but any spoon will work. Spoon the batter into the pan to form a small circle, and fry 3-4 minutes, until you can see the edges turning golden brown, then flip and do the same for the other side.
Once that’s all mixed you’ll stir in 6-8 Tablespoons of flour. Six usually works for me, but depending on how much moisture there is in your zucchini, you may need one or two more. If you haven’t drained your zucchini you may need extra flour. The goal is just to reach a consistency that’s not watery.
Drain on a paper towel lines plate and serve warm – we especially enjoy dipping them into some homemade buttermilk ranch dressing!
- 3 Zucchini
- 1 Onion
- 2 Eggs, Beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 Fresh Basil, Shredded
- 6-8 Tablespoons Flour
- Olive Oil
- Shred zucchini using a food processor or grater.
- Optional (but recommended): Drain zucchini in a large colander.
- Finely chop onion.
- In a large bowl, beat two eggs.
- Add salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese to the eggs and mix.
- Add zucchini, onion and basil to the bowl, mixing well.
- Add flour - starting with 6 Tablespoons and then adding more 1 Tablespoon at a time until mixture in no longer watery.
- Heat olive oil in a large stainless steel or cast iron pan over medium heat.
- One oil is hot begin dropping spoonfuls of the zucchini mixture into the pan, making small rounds.
- Fry 3-4 minutes, until the edges begin to turn a golden brown.
- Flip and fry 3-4 minutes on the other side.
- Drain on a paper towel lined plate.
- Serve warm.
- Serving Suggestions: Serve with a side of buttermilk ranch or melted herb butter for dipping!
Have a go-to way of using up extra zucchini? Let me know how you prepare or preserve your harvest in the comments!