Do you ever do something and immediately know it was wrong, and wish you could have a do-over? In cooking, yes, but also in real life? I often have those times. Maybe that’s a sign that I need to think more before I act. From taking medication to having a conversation with a friend, I often seem to end up in awkward situations.
What inspired this contemplation of my foolish ways was taking some gel caps this morning on my commute to work. I had muscle aches (not due to over-using my treadmill, sorry to say) and wanted some ibu. My travel mug was empty so I had to wait until I got to the office. In the meantime I put the gel caps in my jean jumper pocket.
When I got to the office I refilled my mug with water and took the ibu out of my pocket and tossed them into my mouth. Bad decision. I should have looked at them first; I’d have seen the long hair that had somehow ended up in my pocket. My hair is truly long, and although I wasn’t surprised there was a hair in my pocket, I was surprised I was trying to swallow it. Ugh! I nearly threw up trying to untangle that hair from my gel caps and tongue. Gross! If I could redo that, I’d have looked at my hand before tossing the gel caps into my mouth. Hairball situation would have been avoided. Good grief!
Which brings me to a food do-over situation. I’d wanted to use up a medium sized zucchini before it went bad and I was in the mood for cheese. I knew there must be recipes out there that included cheese in a fritter, and found one on a site I won’t name. I will take the blame for this fail. I wanted a post for Fritter Friday, so I chose this recipe. I maybe should have looked further for a different recipe. This one left us unimpressed. It looked way better than it tasted.
The strange thing about the recipe is that there was no flour in it. I’ve now made enough fritters to know that flour, egg, some seasoning, and some kind of shredded vegetable are the basics to any fritter recipe. Without flour, I couldn’t imagine how it would turn out. But I trusted the recipe and continued on.
I shredded the zucchini, then put it into my trusty jelly strainer bag and wrung out the excess water. It was quite wet, there was maybe about a cup of liquid in the bowl I was squeezing it into. I dumped out the water and put the zucchini in the bowl.
Next I chopped up a quarter cup of shallots finely and added it to the bowl.
I added the eggs, seasonings and cheeses and stirred it well. Since I hadn’t had quite 3 cups of shredded zucchini I left out one of the eggs. I’m sure that didn’t make any difference to the final dish; it maybe would have been wetter and messier if I’d had another whole egg in the batter.
I heated a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat, then drizzled in a little olive oil. I dropped heaping tablespoons of the batter into the skillet, about7 or 8 at a time. I let them fry until they were brown on one side, then flipped them. I had to use my spatula to re-form them occasionally since the egg wanted to leak out and run amok all over the pan.
I will caution you that they had to be very browned to be sturdy enough to flip. One or two of the last ones I’d put into the pan weren’t very dark and began to fall apart and made messes. I just formed them again with my spatula and continued on. When the fritters were dark on the second side, I removed them to a plate.
When all of the fritters were done I served them with my go to dip of sour cream with dillweed stirred in. The fritters couldn’t be picked up and eaten, they weren’t very firm. That’s ok, but they also weren’t all that exciting. It was like eating a zucchini pancake with cheese in it. And not very cheesy at that. They were ok, but very one-dimensional. Cheese was the only flavor, besides the touch of garlic from the powder.
Zucchini is sort of a neutral ingredient and has very little flavor of its own. But there are ways to make it useful and delicious in a dish. This wasn’t really one of them. I don’t know if I want to work on this and make it better, or move on and find other fritter ideas.
I’m wondering if adding a small amount of flour, even a ¼ cup, might change the whole flavor and texture profile so that it’s more interesting. And maybe add a few diced red sweet bell peppers. They perk up any dish! I’ll let you know if I revisit this. I’m still trying to decide if I want a do-over.
Zucchini Cheese Fritters (gluten free)
1 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup onion
1 cup cheddar; shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan; shredded
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
generous pinch cayenne
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon dillweed
Grate the zucchini and squeeze liquid out with cheesecloth or a jam strainer.
Add rest of ingredients.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a nonstick skillet on medium high heat.
Drop batter by tablespoons and let flatten. You may have to use a spatula to prevent the egg liquid from spreading too far.
Fry on first side until darkly browned. Flip and fry on second side until browned.
Serve with sour cream that’s been seasoned with dried dillweed.