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As June approaches, we are starting to see an emergence of early summer produce from our local farmers. Basil, zucchini, cucumbers and garlic whistles abound!
I was raised jewish and every December, my family’s house is permeated with the intoxicating smell of onions and potatoes frying in oil - latkes! I am a sucker for the crispy little potato pancakes and I am tired of only eating them in the winter time. To celebrate the arrival of basil, zucchini and garlic whistles and to satisfy my own craving for latkes, I have cooked up a fritter and some yogurt and basil sauce that will hopefully bring you the same joy it has given me.
Garlic whistles, which are the stems and immature buds of the garlic flower, are plucked off of the garlic plant at this time of year to stop it from flowering and help it continue to send its energy to its prized bulb. They are similar to green beans in texture but with the flavor of sweet, garlic. They are wonderful in stir fries, pickled, chopped up into a salsa or added to this delightful fritter!
Zucchini Garlic Whistle Fritters
Makes 10 fritters
3 small zucchini (about 1 pound total)
4 garlic whistles, finely chopped
½ lb feta
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
½ cup All Purpose Flour
½ cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
½ tsp aleppo chili flakes or red chili flakes (optional)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil (canola, avocado, safflower or sunflower) for frying
For the yogurt sauce:
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated with a microplane
Zest from 1 lemon
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp aleppo or red chili flakes (optional)
Grate two of the zucchinis with a box grater and toss them with 1 tsp of salt. Place them in a colander in the sink to drain their liquid. Cut the remaining zucchini into ¼” half moons. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornflour, baking powder, chili flakes and 1 tsp salt. Mix well to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the feta, basil, olive oil, and garlic whistles.
Squeeze as much liquid out of the shredded zucchini as possible and add it along with the chopped zucchini to the egg mixture. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well to combine. Let the mixture sit for five minutes. In a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat, warm up 3 Tbsp of vegetable oil until it sizzles when you drop a bit of batter in it.
Scoop ¼ cup of batter into the hot oil and use the back of the spoon to make it into a thin even circle. Fry until it starts to brown around the edges, about 2 minutes. Flip and continue to fry for another minute. Transfer the fritter onto a paper towel lined plate.
To make the yogurt sauce, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust to your liking. Serve the hot fritters immediately with a healthy dollop of cold yogurt sauce. The batter will last well in the fridge overnight. If you want to serve all of the fritters at once, preheat your oven to 300 and keep the fritters warm in the oven while you fry more. Enjoy!
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