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zucchini fritters and lemon garlic aioli

Posted Sep 28 2009 10:51pm


I mentioned a while back that when I was in Boston, I had an incredible dinner at a restaurant called Oleana . It was an epic meal, one that lasted for hours as I reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen in years. I had wanted to order the vegetarian tasting menu, but the waiter said the kitchen was too busy to veganize it that evening. My friend Patrick got it, though, and I stole many bites from the vegan bits on his plate. The rest of us just split a bunch of appetizers before our main course—warm olives with za’atar, bean and walnut paté, and zucchini fritters. By the time my “vegan plate” of roasted seasonal vegetables arrived, I was stuffed, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying every bite. It also didn’t stop me when the Sicilian cremolata was served—a rich almond-based ice cream. Nor did it stop me from helping myself to Patrick’s dessert—an herb-infused sweet sauce with liquor and berries and some kind of sherbet. I know not what it was, only that it was the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted.

I went out and bought the restaurant’s cookbook, Spice: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean , the next day. The mysterious dessert, alas, is not in it.

But the recipe for zucchini fritters is, which is good because my garden has been providing a steady (and I do mean steady) supply of zucchini. It’s easily veganizable; I simply swapped out the eggs for some tofu. The original recipe calls for nasturtiums, which I’m sure would be lovely, but they were too hard to come by. I also added in some nutritional yeast to create a hint of a cheese flavor.

Zucchini Fritters, adapted from Spice by Ana Sortun

2 1/2 cups zucchini, grated

1 tsp salt

1 small red onion, diced

1 Tbsp fresh dill or mint, chopped

black pepper to taste

1/4 c. tofu, crumbled/smooshed

1/2 c. flour

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

enough olive oil for frying

bread crumbs (optional)

1) Salt the grated zucchini and let it sit in a colander to dry out (15 min or so). 2) Pat with a towel or squish with hands to remove any remaining water from the zucchini and place it in a large bowl. 3) add the rest of the ingredients (except oil and bread crumbs) and mix well. 4) Heat the oil in a big skillet while forming the mixture into small patties. Coat in bread crumbs if you want to. 5) Fry over medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown. 6) Set on a paper towel to let excess oil drain off. 7) Serve and top with lemon-garlic aioli.*

*To make the aioli: whisk together vegenaise, lemon juice, and minced garlic to taste.

I’ve made these a few times now and have found that they’re quite conducive to experimentation. Cumin and coriander is a nice alternative in place of the dill. When I ate these with my friend Dustin, he added quite a bit more salt, so you might want to consider adding another tsp or so to the full mixture.

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