Stuffed mushrooms and pan roasted asparagus
My holiday dinners always include appetizers -
At Easter, besides the stuffed mushrooms and pan roasted asparagus, I served Zucchini Fritters. They were an instant hit with my guests. I had just picked fresh mint, spring onions and garlic from the garden. The zucchini I purchased at the farmer's market since in the Northeast is too early for fresh zucchini.
1 pound (about 2 medium) zucchini
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon (1 lemon) freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as fennel, dill, mint, parsley and spring onions (if available)
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 cup fresh or dry breadcrumbs, more as necessary
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup crumbled feta or Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Small amount of flour for dredging
Olive oil (vegetable) for frying
Using the large holes of a box grater, grate zucchini into a medium bowl.
Salt the zucchini generously and leave to drain in a colander for one hour, tossing and squeezing the zucchini from time to time. Take up handfuls of zucchini, and squeeze out all of the moisture. Alternately, wrap in a clean dish towel, and squeeze out the water by twisting at both ends.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and add the shredded zucchini, herbs, bread crumbs, black pepper to taste and feta or Parmigiano. Mix together well. Take up a small handful of the mixture; if it presses neatly into a patty, it is the right consistency. If it seems wet, add more breadcrumbs. When the mixture has the right consistency, line a baking sheet with wax paper. Using 2 tablespoons zucchini mixture for each, shape mixture into patties, place in baking sheet and chill at least an hour. Can be made 4 to 5 hours ahead.
Heat 1 inch of olive oil in a large frying pan until it is very hot. Add the patties in batches to the pan. Cook fritters until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Turn fritters, and continue cooking until golden, 3 to 4 minutes more. Transfer fritters to a plate; set aside in a warm place. Cook remaining zucchini mixture, adding more oil to pan if necessary.