Most Friday evenings find Peg and me joining our little group: "FandFers" - Friends and Friday. We started as a planning session for a five-couple group trip to Italy and have continued meeting with the addition of others for years. No dues, no rules, but lots of laughter and food. Basically, someone hosts and everyone else contributes. Last week I volunteered us for an appetizer.
I had just finished writing a review of a trip to Seattle where we visited Lowell's at Pike Place Market and one to Tacoma and the Adriatic Grill. Crab cake appetizers were sampled at both. Although you can't really have enough crab, I decided to go a slightly different route for FandFers. I chose a zucchini fritter.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, zucchini can overwhelm neighborhoods with those growing them in their gardens and leaving fresh zucchini on doorsteps, in mailboxes and even wrapped up as birthday presents. Once at a softball tournament at DeCoursey Park in Puyallup, our three kids brought gigantic logs of zucchini they had found floating down Clarks Creek to our truck and camper.
I had never made a fritter before, but I have seen Peg make salmon croquettes (basically a fritter or fried cake) countless times.
I would never attempt a salmon croquette. Why try to re-create a classic when I have the queen of salmon croquette cooking in the same house? Besides, with salmon croquettes ketchup is my condiment of choice. I was looking for something a little different.
I know a binder is needed to hold everything together, I know I needed crunchies, and I know a cast iron skillet is required.
I wanted color and variety in my cakes, so I selected one medium zucchini, a yellow crook-neck squash, a parsnip, and an onion. Parsnips are great added to mashed potatoes and even hash brown potatoes. They add a little earthy sweetness.
I grated everything but the onion, which I minced. I held out about two-thirds of the onion and put the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl and hit them for two minutes on high in the microwave. I then liberally sprinkled the grated veggies with garlic powder, smokey paprika, turmeric, a no-salt seasoner, fresh ground pepper, and a slight sprinkling of sea salt. I then added four eggs and some gluten-free flour and mixed . . . adding a little more flour to reach a consistency I wanted.
I took a rectangular Polish serving bowl and laid down two paper-towel sheets on the bottom. In to the olive oil in my hot cast iron frying pan I spooned little three inch dollops. When I could see the edges browning I turned them and when I could tap them with no give, I placed them into my bowl and then lightly spinkled them with sea salt. I added paper-towels in between each layer and set the bowl aside.
I then took a sauce pan and poured in some sweet Italian vinegar and Olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, I added the minced onions which I had set aside. I emptied a jar of apricot jam into the pan and poured enough balsamic vinegar until it curled my nose and then reduced the chutney. When it cooled I sampled a zucchini cake with chutney on top. It worked for me and it worked for Peg. There were none left at the end of the evening. The fritters were served room temperature. I would say they were a success.