Kolokythokeftedes

Zucchini-Cheese Patties

ZUCCHINI patties are a very common meze and are often served during Lent, when those who observe the Greek Orthodox religious traditions abstain from any foods derived from animals. You will find many variations of these patties throughout Greece: Some cooks, for example, prefer to boil the zucchini, then mash it and drain it in a cheesecloth bag before mixing it with sautéed onions and other ingredients. This recipe uses grated raw zucchini, scallions and plenty of fresh herbs. The cheese, which would be omitted during Lent, is optional.

These patties are adapted from a recipe that Kalliopi Delios makes at her taverna, Kastro, in Avgonima. To bind the patties, she uses cornstarch instead of flour, with the result that the patties are particularly light-textured.

Serve with Yogurt, Garlic, Cucumber and Fennel Dip or plain Drained Yogurt, or Caper Potato-Garlic Dip.

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups grated zucchini (3–4 zucchini), drained in a colander for at least 1 hour
  • 1 cup chopped scallions (white and most of the green parts)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup grated hard myzithra, kefalotyri, pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil and safflower oil for frying

Method

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, scallions, parsley, cheese (if using), cornstarch, mint, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a large, deep skillet, heat 1½ inches of a combination of olive and safflower oil over medium high heat to 350°F. To make a test patty, stir the zucchini mixture and, using the spoon, scoop up an amount about the size of a golf ball. With the help of a second spoon, shape it into a patty and place it in the hot oil. Fry, turning once, until browned, about 3 minutes. Taste the patty and adjust the seasonings in the remaining zucchini mixture, if necessary. Shape and fry the remaining patties, in batches, and transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

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