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
• 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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