Saturday, May 21, 2011

Get Your Greek On: Zucchini Feta Fritters

A few months ago, I was watching Food Network and got caught up in an episode of the special, "Giada in Paradise: Santorini."

With its famously photographed cliff side, breathtaking sunset view, and deep blue ocean backdrop, the beautiful Greek island is one that she justly described as “heaven." From what I saw, she was just about right.

After watching the hour-long historical and culinary tour, I put a mental checkbox next to Santorini on the bucket list of places I hope to visit someday. Then, I put a bold mental underline beneath the checkbox that has been already been there for years now, that says, “Get a job like Giada’s.”

At one of the many food stops during the episode, Giada is served an assortment of Greek meze, or a sampling of different small dishes put out before the main course. Among the meze were these amazing fried zucchini and feta balls with mint. Can you say instant obsession?

Check them out for yourself at the 3:11 mark:

So there was Giada in the middle of heaven and the one thing that stuck in my mind more than anything else in the entire episode was these zucchini balls. Zucchini, feta, and mint—oh, my! I couldn’t wait to deep fry my own inspired version of the delicious trio.

I made Easter dinner this year and decided that it would be the perfect occasion to try these babies out. They ended up looking a little different than what I had pictured, but tasted just as good.

At first, I tried making balls which were sort of tricky because the outside would cook way faster than the inside, so I made them flat and it actually worked out for the best.

Served warm, the delicate sautéed garlic and zucchini mixture holds up well beside the just-melted feta cheese. I also added lemon which really brightens up the flavor.

Zucchini Feta Fritters
Yield: About 15 fritters

- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 medium zucchini, shredded thin with mandolin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 10 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup chopped mint
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 1 cup breadcrumb
- 1 ½ cup flour
• In a large skillet, sauté garlic in olive oil until fragrant; add shredded zucchini and cook at medium-high heat until soft. Season with salt and pepper.
• The zucchini will have released a lot of liquid during cooking; remove zucchini from the pan with a slotted spoon into a large bowl.
• To the bowl with the zucchini: add lemon juice and zest, feta cheese, mint, egg, breadcrumb and flour. Mix until all the ingredients are distributed and well bound. You should be able to shape patties with your hands; if not, you may need to add more flour and/or breadcrumb until your mixture reaches the right consistency.
• Use an ice cream scoop to create equal-sized portions and flatten into patties with your hands. In a fryer or a deep pan, heat oil to around 325 degrees and fry until golden on the outside and cooked through on the inside. You may need to play with the temperature of the oil to see what works best.


Healthy Mamma said...

I wouldn't mind being Giada at all. ;)
This does sound sinfully delicious, totally worth the calories from frying! I think fritters accurately describes them.

Angie's Recipes said...

Those zucchini fritters look mouthwatering! Is it wrong to want to dip them with some Tzatziki?

Victoria said...

I've seen that episode too. I think in another scene she eats tomato fritters that I recall swooning over :) Fritters is a good name, but maybe explosions of deliciousness could be an alternative title :)

Karen said...

Amazing scenery! Definitely deserves a check mark for places to go. And I can see why you were so drawn to the zucchini balls...what an amazing flavor combination.

Hester aka The Chef Doc said...

Oh baby, baby. Zucchini Feta Fritters rock! That episode is soooo beautiful. I can't wait till I go to Greece, too!

Tanantha said...

haha yes I agree I want to get a job like Giada's!!! Man, that would be so nice to get to travel and eat good food. Your fritters were fried perfectly Marisa! They look crispy and moist inside.

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

The fritters really look so amazing. I have been to Santorini, it is a heaven and a stunning island.

Faith said...

Giada definitely has a pretty fantastic job! :) Love the look of these fritters, and in about a month when I've got more zucchini than I know what to do with I will be putting it to good use, lol...bookmarking!