Recipe: Zucchini Fritters with Basil and Oregano

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A much sought after appetizer served at all Greek taverns today. In the old days it was considered a poor man's' keftedes (meatballs), for the people who could not afford to buy meat. The mixture is very similar to the one for the crust-less pie, but needs to be drier, so squeeze more liquid out of the grated zucchini.

Makes 6 to 8 meze servings

    • 4 cups grated zucchini (3-4 zucchini)
    • 1 cup finely chopped onion
    • Salt
    • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
    • 1 cup grated hard myzithra, kefalotyri, Pecorino Romano, or Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 - 1 cup toasted whole-wheat breadcrumbs
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves
    • 1 tablespoon Greek dried oregano
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Olive oil and safflower oil, for frying
    • 1 cup thick Greek yogurt (optional) or tzatziki

Toss the zucchini and onion with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and let them drain in a colander for at least 1 hour. Squeeze handfuls of the mixture to extract as much water as possible.

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, parsley, cheese, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, egg, basil, oregano, and pepper to taste.

In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 1/2 inches of a combination of olive and safflower oil over medium-high heat to 350°F.

Make a test fritter: Stir the zucchini mixture and, using a spoon, scoop a heaping tablespoon (about the size of a golf ball). Fry in the hot oil, turning once, until browned, about 3 minutes. If too wet, adjust the texture with more breadcrumbs, as needed. Also correct the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper as necessary. Fry the rest of the fritters, in batches, and transfer to paper towels to drain.

Serve them hot or warm, accompanied with thick yogurt, if you like, or tzatziki. Also good at room temperature.

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Aglaia Kremezi writes about food in Greek, European, and American magazines, publishes books about Mediterranean cooking in the U.S. and Greece, and teaches cooking classes. More

Aglaia Kremezi has changed her life and her profession many times over. She currently writes about food in Greek, European and American magazines, publishes books about Greek and Mediterranean cooking in the US and in Greece, and teaches cooking to small groups of travelers who visit Kea. Before that she was a journalist and editor, writing about everything, except politics. She has been the editor in chief and the creator of news, women's, and life-style magazines, her last disastrous venture being a "TV guide for thinking people," a contradiction in terms, at least in her country. She studied art, graphic design, and photography at the Polytechnic of Central London. For five years she taught photography to graphic designers while freelancing as a news and fashion photographer for Athenian magazines and newspapers. Editors liked her extended captions more than the pieces the journalists submitted for the events she took pictures for, so she was encouraged to do her own stories, gradually becoming a full time journalist and editor. You can visit her website at www.keartisanal.com.


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