One of my favourite food bloggers has a bit of a thing with fritters and she’s been inspiring me to try making them myself for ages. If you haven’t heard of Deb Perelman and the Smitten Kitchen blog yet you should definitely seek it out. The writing is full of personality and the recipes are to die for. I want to make all of them, and that is a sign of a good food blog. This recipe is different from, but most certainly inspired by, the recipe for zucchini fritters on the Smitten Kitchen blog. So thanks Deb Perelman; you make me want to keep on cooking.
Right, back to the fritters. I’ve made plenty of veggie-cake type recipes but fritters are a little different because they have a batter element which makes them a bit pancake like, so they’re fluffier in texture and have added flavour from the flour mixture. I think this makes them appeal to children, because although they are crispy on the outside, they have a soft texture on the inside which makes them easy to chew and swallow. Because I wanted the best chance of my kids eating these, and I know texture is sometimes an issue, I played up the pancake quality and added more egg, flour and milk than a typical fritter. You could, however, cut back these ingredients and leave out the baking powder if you wanted a more latke like texture. Personally I love the fluffiness of a fritter.
Now, fritters are fried, so they aren’t the lowest fat option out there but if you fry them in a nutritious oil, and pat them dry with a paper towel, you shouldn’t be coming out too badly. As always I’ve ensured that this recipe is full of nutritious ingredients. I really believe that because children’s eating is a bit hit and miss, it’s so important that each bite offers them as much goodness as possible, and these fritters definitely fullfill that goal. And with heartiness from the chickpeas, and the delicious flavour of the fried green onions, hopefully they will satisfy even the meat lovers in your family. This meal was a definite hit at our house, even with John, who is a bit wary of a vegetarian dinner.
What you will need:
For the fritters:
3 medium size zucchini or summer squash
2/3 cup finely chopped broccoli
3 green onions
1 (398 ml) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed well
3/4 cup spelt flour (you can use white flour here but the spelt is more nutritious and it adds a nice nutty flavour)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt plus a bit more to taste
Ground black pepper
Coconut oil for frying
For the sauce:
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 tbsp minced fresh mint
1 small clove garlic, crushed
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
Preheat oven to 275 F.
Grate the zucchini into a large bowl. Sprinkle one tsp salt over the zucchini and mix well. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. The longer the better. Don’t worry about the salt. Most of it will be washed away when you drain the zucchini.
Meanwhile, mash up the chickpeas in a separate bowl using a potato masher. Be sure to keep them a bit chunky. You don’t want them to be like hummus. Finely chop the green onions.
Make the sauce: Simply combine all the ingredients together, adding salt and peppr to taste, and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Drain the water out of the zucchini. One way to do this is to squeeze it out using a dish towel. Simply lay out the towel and put the zucchini in a pile in the middle. Twist the ends of the towel together so that the zucchini is wrapped up tightly in a ball inside. Squeeze out the water over the sink until very little water drips out. Put drained zucchini back in the bowl. Taste it to see how much salt is left. If it tastes like the salt is pretty much gone, add a bit more to taste. You can see in these before and after photos how much water volume you will loose from the zucchin by draining it, so definitely don’t skip this step.
Next put the chickpeas, broccoli, green onions and a good grinding of pepper into the bowl with the zucchini and mix until combined.
Mix the egg and milk together in the bowl that you used for the chickpeas and slowly whisk in the spelt flour and baking powder. Pour over the veggie mixture and mix together.
Heat up a tablespoon of coconut oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Carefully drop spoons of the fritter mixture into the pan and flatten them slightly, making sure that there is room between each fritter. If you are planning to feed these to young children, make the fritters smaller so that they can be picked up to be eaten.
Looking at this photo I realise how much I really need a new pan!
Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side so that they are nicely browned. Place cooked fritters on paper towel and pat dry. Put fritters on a cookie sheet and allow them to keep warm in a 275 degree oven until you’ve finished cooking all the fritters. You may need to add more coconut oil for each batch of fritters in the pan.
For baby, let cool then break into bite size pieces. For preschoolers serve the sauce as a dip alongside the fritters and some crudites. For adults, place 3-4 fritters on a plate in an attractive pile and put a dollop of sauce on top. Serve alongside a green salad.