Philip and I have always said that we have black thumbs. When we bought our house, I suffered illusions of grandeur because the lady that lived here before us had fantastic landscaping, including a pond with live fish. It was one of the things that sold us on the house…but within a month of moving in (we moved here right before summer) I knew I was in over my head. By the end of the summer I had a yard full of weeds and no live fish. I couldn’t even keep a houseplant alive.
Given that information, you’d think we’d shy away from growing a vegetable garden, and for many years that was the case. A few years ago, though, we decided to try our hand at Mel Bartholomew’s square-foot garden concept, which meant that while yes, we had to build some garden boxes and do a little soil mixing, we didn’t have to till the ground and deciding how far apart to plant things was decided for us. We bought the book and off we went. While I over planted the cucumbers (killing them, ahem) and there was a stink bug epidemic that year and they killed our yellow squash, we were actually amazed at how well the rest of the vegetables in our two little garden boxes did, supplying us with tomatoes, red peppers, jalapeños, and zucchini. Oh, the zucchini. We couldn’t believe how quickly it grew, seeming to appear one day and become giganti-squash by the next.
A couple of years passed that we didn’t plant a garden, but finally this year we decided to go for it again. I didn’t plant as many cucumbers this year and our harvest has been pretty great. No yellow squash yet but lots of tomatoes are ripening up on our vines. We have the cutest little baby butternut squashes…and one teeny zucchini has come off of our plant so far. I know it won’t be the last, though, so I figured that in addition to the oven-fried zucchini that people apparently went gaga for last year I’d work on some more…the first of which is zucchini & corn fritters.
Fritters are something I “learned” from Smitten Kitchen. She could just about do a whole recipe section on fritters, which are basically latkes made with a myriad of vegetables. This is loosely based on her zucchini fritter recipe. I added corn for a texture and flavor contrast and threw some cornmeal in there to accent the corn flavor (though you could certainly use all flour if you wanted). A garlic & lime yogurt sauce is perfect for dipping and drizzling, but we stacked these with a fried egg on top (with a little cup of sauce on the side). A perfect way to welcome summer!
Zucchini & Corn Fritters with Garlic-Lime Yogurt Sauce (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
makes about 8 fritters
prep time 20 minutes
cook time 15-20 minutes
- 1 medium zucchini (about half a pound) scrubbed
- 2-3 ears of corn
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal (or, omit the cornmeal and use ¼ cup of flour)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- ½-1 teaspoon salt (if you are using table salt, use the smaller amount; if you are using kosher salt use ¾-1 teaspoon)
- black pepper to taste
- 2-4 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- juice and zest of one lime
To make the sauce: Whisk together the yogurt, garlic, lime juice and zest, and salt to taste. Refrigerate until ready to use.
1. Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 200 degrees.
2. Cut the ends off of the zucchini. Grate on the large holes of a box grater. Place in several layers of cheesecloth or in a clean dishcloth and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can (I got about ¼ cup out of mine). Place in a large bowl.
3. Use a sharp knife to shave the kernels off of the corn. You want to have about 6-8 ounces or roughly the same amount of corn as zucchini. I find it easiest to place my shucked corn into the center of a bundt pan while I shave it to catch the kernels. Place the corn in the bowl with the zucchini.
4. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl with the corn and zucchini and mix thoroughly.
5. Place 2 tablespoons of the oil into a medium pan (I used a 10-inch cast iron skillet) and preheat over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, scoop ¼ cup mounds into the pan and flatten with a spoon or the back of your measuring cup (if your measuring cup is metal!). You should be able to fit 3-4 into each batch. Fry until brown, about 2 minutes per side, then remove to the preheated pan in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more oil if necessary.
Note: Try to keep your corn kernels in the mounds of batter. Loose kernels will pop like crazy and that can become dicey very quickly!