Thursday, August 19, 2010

Zucchini Madness I: zucchini fritters and zucchini french bread pizza

Makes 8-10 fritters and 2 8-in long pizzas

The season is upon us. The season of zucchini door ditching—look out, I might be leaving some on a porch near you. Last night I did my best to incorporate the intimidating harvest into some dishes that would be a little bit novel for Chris, who, in truth, doesn’t even like zucchini very much. I thought they both turned out great—the pizza especially, due to the deeply flavored roasted tomatoes. But more about that in a minute; let’s start with the fritters.

I had never made fritters before—in fact, I’m not sure that I’d ever eaten them. So I went to the internet and found a highly rated and very easy recipe—after all, I’ve got a newborn on the boob and a toddler on my lap, and right now simplicity takes precedence over culinary innovation and complexity. Therefore: this recipe has some ingredients that I wouldn’t ordinary use (out of excessive snobbiness and mild obsession), but they won’t kill ya, and next time I try them I’ll experiment with whole grain flours and natural seasonings. Conclusion: I loved the crispy edges and the fluffy center, and think they deserve a place in the pantheon of zucchini door ditching season favorites.


2 C grated zucchini

1/2 C milk

1 egg

1 C flour

1/2 oz. ranch dressing seasoning

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Mix all ingredients until combined. Heat 1/2 to 1 inch canola oil in a large skillet. Drop four fritters (about 1/4 C batter each) into the oil. Cook about 4-5 minutes per side until golden and puffed up.



And now the French bread pizzas (which could, of course, be made on regular ole pizza dough—we had half a loaf of delicious homemade bread left over from generous friends who brought us dinner after Fielding was born). As I said above, what really set these apart was the roasted tomato topping, which idea I pilfered from Passionate About Baking. Except that I had exactly five extremely ripe tomatoes when her recipe called for much more, so I knew that it wouldn’t go far. But the flavor is so deep, so resonant, it was the perfect way to use up tomatoes that were on their way out. All you do is half and seed your tomatoes, salt them and let them drain for a few minutes, then drizzle them well with olive oil and put them in a 250 degree oven for 4-5 hours--I used the toaster oven. By that time they should be shriveled, soft, and pungently flavored. Mash them up or put them in the food processor, and then you can either spread them on pizza crust, canapes, or pack them in oil and preserve them in the fridge for awhile. Here are mine, all mashed up:


1/2 C roasted tomatoes, chopped or mashed

1 link cooked sausage (we used andouille)

1 medium zucchini, sliced into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler or mandolin

1/2 green pepper, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbs lemon juice

shredded cheese (we used cheddar jack)

Slice your 8-in hunk of baguette horizontally. Drizzle olive oil on each half, rub with a clove of garlic and toast until lightly browned.

While bread is toasting, sauté the garlic and green pepper in a little olive oil until they begin to soften. Add the zucchini, stirring frequently until soft. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.


Spread roasted tomatoes on each baguette half, top with sliced sausage, zucchini mixture and cheese.


Broil until cheese is melted and beginning to brown.


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