*Breathe in* –this is a critical “1st step” after getting up in the morning, in advance of facing an outside world that is still as chaotic and intense as it was yesterday (when that fails, there are 3 liquor stores within a 3 minute sprint of this apartment). The country is still in a state of anxious limbo, but our jobs still need us there at 9am and our rent still needs paying. The sun still circles the globe and we all still have an “everyday” to live. Balance.
The frost is finally starting to thaw, just one week after we had a great weekend skiing in Vermont—not falling on our asses and not touching the bunny trails = skiing like a grown-up. Back in the gritty city, it’s warm enough this weekend to ditch the wool coat and bring back my waist-length leather jacket that barely zips and genuinely mull over the option of boozy brunch at an indoor or outdoor table. I’m sure life will bring me a more complex crossroads in the near future, but I’ll relish the ones I have while I have them.
I whipped up a quick new recipe recently in an effort to create something healthy that also satisfied my need for crunch and flavor. I paired these fritters with an oven-roasted salmon topped with salt, garlic powder, a few dabs of butter, and a drizzle of maple syrup to glaze. Don’t leave your wine glass thirsty. Enjoy frittering.
Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Dill Yogurt Dip
-1.5 Zucchinis, julienned and chopped, with skins on
-3-4 Tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
-1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
-1 Tbsp plain or honey goat cheese
-1 large egg
-3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
-3 cloves minced garlic
-Salt and pepper
-Olive oil for cooking
-6 oz Plain Greek yogurt
-Zest and juice of 1 lemon
-A few sprinkles of dill
Initially, I julienned my zucchinis because my dollar-store cheese grater snapped in half and I neglected to purchase a new one. While you can grate your zucchini instead, I found that julienning gave them a nice structure. After julienning all the zucchini and transferring it into a large bowl, I used a fork and sharp knife to chop the strips of zucchini as much as possible, resulting in strips 1-2 inches in length.
Next, sprinkle the zucchini generously with salt and toss to coat. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes in a colander so that the salt can draw out all the moisture. After it sits, squeeze bunches of the zucchini between layers of paper towel until you’ve squeezed out as much water as possible. Return zucchini to the original bowl and add the Parmesan cheese, onion, goat cheese, egg, flour, and garlic. Sprinkle with a dash of pepper. Toss all ingredients until well mixed, adding a little extra flour if the mixture feels too sloppy (it should still be damp and hold together just barely).
In a large frying pan, heat olive oil until very hot. Scoop up a ball of the zucchini mixture and drop it into the hot oil, flattening with a metal spatula to form a patty about 3 inches in diameter. Cook 3-4 patties at once. Allow to sizzle until fritters are a light golden brown, and then flip to cook the other side (a few minutes per side). Transfer cooked fritters to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb extra oil.
Scoop the Greek yogurt into a small bowl and add the lemon zest, juice, sea salt, and sprinkles of dill (to taste). Mix well.
I served my fritters with the baked salmon mentioned above, but they would go well with other lightly flavored fish or as a snack all by themselves. The fritters should be lightly crunchy but maintain a satisfying chew in the center, and the zesty dip will complement the gentle flavors of the zucchini and cheeses.
If you’re like me and struggle to separate the fight for humanity, equality, and compassion (that is so often under threat) with the fight for normalcy—never forget the power of feeding your stomach as well as your soul. And maybe, choose to get your heart-health benefits from wine instead of a multi-vitamin for the next few months.
If that doesn’t work—Fry until crunchy, and bite in.