While tomatoes get most of the Summer produce love, I want to take a moment to advocate for the humble zucchini. Bursting with vibrant green hues and a tender, succulent texture, zucchini offer a versatile canvas for your culinary creativity, lending themselves to refreshing salads, sizzling grills, mouthwatering sautés and more that celebrate the essence of Summer.
I, for one, already have plans to make Chicken Meatballs with Zucchini and Feta, Zucchini Muffins (because I generally prefer the portability of a muffin to a larger loaf of bread), and all manner of "zoodles" for fresh takes on pasta this week, and that doesn't even account for all the ways I might use zucchini in the weeks and months ahead. From quesadillas to sandwiches to pasta dishes to breakfast dishes like frittatas and chilaquiles, there is almost no end to the list of things you can do with zucchini.
But you have to start somewhere, and these Easy Zucchini Fritters are where my Summer Zucchini Journey begins, partly because they're simply delicious, but mostly because they're just... simple. They're made with ingredients I always have on hand, like Greek yogurt, masa harina, and preserved lemons, and I love the way my Greek Island spice blend infuses each bite with a burst of savory goodness. Of course, if you don't have Greek yogurt, you can use sour cream (although I prefer the flavor of Greek yogurt to sour cream any day). If you don't have masa harina, you can use cornmeal (although the masa harina just tastes better). And if you don't have preserved lemons, you can use fresh lemon zest and juice. (That said, I highly recommend ALWAYS having preserved lemons on hand. They are one of my all-time favorite ingredients, and super easy to make. Check out that recipe here.)
Heard enough? Let's get cooking, shall we?
Easy Zucchini Fritters
Makes 12 fritters
1 1/2 pounds zucchini
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons Greek Island spice blend, divided
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1-2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon minced preserved lemon peel (substitute 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice if you don't have preserved lemons)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup yellow or white masa harina (substitute cornmeal if you don't have masa harina)
Avocado oil for pan frying
Trim the ends from the zucchini and use a box grater to grate the rest. Toss the grated zucchini with the kosher salt and transfer it to a fine mesh strainer set over a large mixing bowl. Allow zucchini to stand 15 minutes. The salt will help draw out some of the moisture.
While the zucchini is resting, mix together the yogurt, 1 teaspoon of Greek Island, the red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, and the minced preserved lemon. Add more water to thin out the sauce, if desired. Set aside.
Lay a clean kitchen towel on the counter and place the grated zucchini in the middle of it. Wipe out the large mixing bowl and set aside. Gather the edges of the kitchen towel and twist, squeezing as much liquid as possible out of the grated zucchini. Transfer the zucchini to the large mixing bowl and add the beaten egg, the flour, the masa harina, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of Greek Island. Stir to combine.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large cast iron (or nonstick) skillet over medium-high heat. Use a scoop or spoon to measure out twelve portions of the zucchini mixture, transferring half of them to the skillet. Use a spatula to flatten the fritters and allow them to cook until golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer fritters to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with the remaining zucchini mixture and a little more oil.
Serve immediately with yogurt sauce for dipping.