Hot to Trot
What to do with a crisper drawer full of odds and ends that weren’t thrown into some other dish this during the week? Well, if it were a chilly autumn Saturday afternoon, I would have most eagerly put on a pot of stew to simmer. But since it’s still August and keeping the stove on for more than 20 minutes means a torturous death, I thought I’d try something else.
D pesters me on an almost daily basis now to make something for him and not for the blog. You see, as dear a man as he is, he doesn’t have the most wide ranging of tastes. So most of the dishes I prepare to post on the blog are to “exotic” for his preferences. So is that I sometimes feel like I need to find more kid-friendly recipes to put on here. Not that I’m trying to sucker punch him by making reference to kids…it’s just that his level of pickiness as an eater rivals that of a 10 year-old’s. So when I came across this recipe in one of my most dog-earred cookbooks, I knew that despite it’s odd greek name, it’d be the perfect dish to get D to eat his veggies. And to clear out my crisper drawer.
I’ve done zucchini fritters on here earlier this summer, but those were more like a crab cake than these easy greek-style fried slices. The process couldn’t be simpler, and it worked just as well on eggplant as it did zucchini. Apparently the dunking of the vegetables in cold water just before frying is what creates the nice crispy outer layer – almost tempura-like in look and taste. My best piece of advice is to eat them as fast as you can though. The hotter they are, the tastier. Once they cool, they’re kinda boring. But when they’re hot, oh baby!
Kolokithi Tiganito (Greek Zucchini/Squash Fritters)
Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian
1 medium zucchini
1 medium summer squash
1 medium eggplant
*or just use one variety of the above if you’d like
1 t. salt
1 c. all-purpose flour
pinch of salt and pepper
3/4 c. peanut or canola oil for frying
Slice vegetables into thin rounds, about 1/3 inch thick. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle generously with 1 teaspoon of salt. Toss to coat evenly and allow to sit for about an hour. Drain thoroughly and spread slices in a sinlge layer on paper towel. Cover tops with more paper towel and press to dry completely.
Combine flour with pinch of salt and pepper on a large shallow plate. In a large cereal bowl, place a cup or more of cold tap water. Begin assembling fritters by dredging vegetable slices in flour and putting to the side until all slices are coated in flour. Put oil in skillet over high heat. When oil is good and hot, dunk each flour-coated slice of vegetable very quickly in the cold water before place carefully in the hot oil (be careful as the oil will “spit” at you). Add only as many vegetables will fit in a single layer in the skillet. Allow to fry on one side for 3 minutes or so until golden brown (they will brown so give them a bit longer if they are still pale after 3 minutes). Flip over and allow the other side to brown.
Remove fritters from skillet with a slotted spoon or “spider” and drain on a plate covered with paper towel. Repeat the process until all fritters are fried. Sprinkle plate of hot fritters with a generous pinch of coarse salt and serve immediately with ketcup or greek-style yogurt.
(serves 4 to 5 as a side)