Zucchini Mint Fritters (and Tomato Basil Fritters)

Zucchini fritters and tomato fritters with yogurt sauce

We made tomato fritters in one of my Greek cooking classes and they were outstanding – simple, whole foods ingredients and lots of flavor!  Unfortunately they were also deep-fried, so I decided to try making a similar version at home that could be cooked in a pan – none of the deep-fry and all of the deliciousness, well, almost all.

Zucchini fritters

Zucchini Mint Fritter Ingredients:

4 small zucchinis, grated
2 1/2 cups of whole wheat bread crumbs
1 cup of mint, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg [optional]

Tomato Basil Fritter Ingredients:

4 tomatoes, diced
2 1/2 cups of whole wheat bread crumbs
1 cup of basil, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg [optional]

Yogurt Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup plain yogurt
juice from one lemon
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Zucchini fritter ingredients, bread crumbs

I had a funny experience with the bread crumbs.  The closest thing I could find in the small island grocery store were chunks of rusk bread.  Rusk bread is a whole grain bread that is baked twice and very hard (almost like biscotti). Rusk bread came about due to the lack of trees on many of the Greek islands, and thus limited firewood for baking.  These islands traditionally had a bread fire once every week or two and made this dense twice-baked bread.  The rusk bread preserves for weeks at a time and is moistened with olive oil and tomato juice in salads.  I bought some rusk bread and went to work using the bottom of a wine bottle as a hammer to break it into smaller breadcrumb-sized pieces.  It was quite a production, but I ended up with exactly what I needed for this recipe. You can use a food processor to make breadcrumbs and save an arm workout.

Zucchini fritter ingredients, mint

The fresh mint and basil are key to these fritters.  They infuse them with fresh, herby flavor, as well as imparting loads of nutrients.  In class we paired the tomatoes with mint and it was also very tasty.

Zucchini fritters

Begin by chopping and grating all your ingredients and combining them in a mixing bowl.  Check out your grated zucchini before before adding all of the other ingredients.  Some zucchinis are very watery, in which case you should gently squeeze it out before adding it to the mixing bowl.  You need a certain amount of moisture to dampen the bread crumbs and pull the mixture together, but you shouldn’t have any water pooling in the bottom of your bowl.

Next, take a few minutes to massage the mixture with your hands.  You need the bread crumbs to infuse with the juices and oils to pull everything together.  Go ahead, get your hands dirty!

Zucchini fritters

Form the mixture into loose patties and fry them in groups of four.  Don’t expect these fritters to hold their shape perfectly.  A bit of crumbling didn’t bother us, but if you want firmer patties, mix in the optional egg. Cook until browned on both sides.

Zucchini fritters

You can easily make either zucchini or tomato fritters, but since so many of the ingredients are the same I decided to whip up both – they go very well together.

Tomato fritters

Don’t ask why I was mixing the tomato fritters in a frying pan… this rental apartment only had one bowl and it went to the zucchinis!

Tomato fritters

Follow the same steps to combine the ingredients and massage them together before forming your fritters.

Tomato fritters
You should end up with a heaping plate of fritters!  I liked the mixture of flavors and colors that came from making both varieties at once – the zucchini is much brighter tasting and the tomato has a nice earthiness.  I highly recommend the combo.

Zucchini and tomato fritters

Last, but certainly not least, is your dipping sauce.  Combine all the sauce ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir well.  Let the sauce rest while you’re cooking the fritters and mix again before serving.

Yogurt dipping sauce

These fritters make excellent appetizers, but also stand up as the main event when paired with a salad.  We enjoyed them hot for dinner and then cold the following day for lunch.  It’s hard to go wrong with these fresh ingredients and full flavors.  Enjoy!

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Comments

  1. Pril Hall says

    Zoe, my husband remembers having rusk bread as a child in the Boston area back in the 40’s. It didn’t come as a loaf but In a package of maybe slices, and they ate it like crackers. We are trying these tonight but not with rusk bread!
    Happy trails!

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