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It’s finally nearing the end of zucchini season. It’s been a big season for zucchini for us, because of the prolific plant in my mom’s garden. That thing has probably been responsible for at least 30lbs of squash this season.

These fritters were part of our epic Zuke-fest. I don’t particularly care for raw zucchini, or even fried coins, or grilled squash, so I’m always looking for ways to disguise the zukes in cheese and tomatoes, soups, breading, or other creative forms of destruction.

measuring zucchini

Which is why I turned to fritters. There are myriad zucchini fritter recipes floating around the internet. Mine is a bit of a southwestern take on the item. Adding corn brightens up the dense shredded zucchini, and red onion and jalapeno give these a sharper edge than a basic latke-like fritter. A creme fraiche or sour cream garnish adds a creamy, tart finish that feels like summer.

The key to crispy ones that fry up nicely and don’t fall apart is leaching the water out of your zucchini first by salting it, so don’t skip that part.

Now that it’s finally summer in San Francisco, it’s time to whip out the summer classics, like this. You still have another week or two to procure zucchini and corn before they disappear until next July, so hurry up before they disappear.

zucchini fritters frying

zucchini, corn, and jalapeno fritters

Adapted loosely from Simply Recipes.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (1-2 medium-to-large vegetables, probably about 3/4 lb.)
  • 3/4 cup sweet corn (frozen, or cut straight off the cob)
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup canola, grapeseed, or olive oil (preferred frying oil, really)
  • dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream

Directions

Set grated zucchini in strainer over a bowl or the sink and salt generously. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, then wring out as much water as possible with paper towels or in the strainer.

Whisk egg in large bowl, then mix in onion, corn, zucchini, jalapeno, flour, salt, and pepper.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Drop mounds of batter into oil and flatten slightly with the back of a spatula. Flip after 4-6 minutes of cooking, when one side begins to look brown. After a few minutes on the second side, remove from pan to paper towels on a plate.

Serve immediately with creme fraiche or sour cream, or keep warm in the oven if necessary.

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Every gardener knows that a surplus inevitably results from even one zucchini plant. Heat and humidity saturate the July air in much of the country. Not here in California. Fog slurps up any daytime heat and casts an evening chill, even in the depth of summer. I always imagined that warmer climates were the only ones to produce county-fair-ribbon-worthy vegetables. That’s where I saw them growing up: at the California state fair, my grandparents’ house in Missouri.

Until this summer, when my mother and I planted a vegetable garden in her backyard. We dug out packets of seeds from the laundry room that must have been ten years old, from the last time she had a diverse garden. Chives, kale, spinach, carrots, peas, four types of lettuce, and zucchini. I think the zucchini seeds were oldest of all.

Seduced by the blank slate of fresh soil, we planted everything, packing seeds in tight rows. Those veggies faced tough conditions. First they went for a week without water. Then the April rain came down so hard we thought the seeds had washed away.

Eight pound zucchini

zuke2

Now, months of not-too-hot-and-humid-weather later, the garden is brimming with vegetables. Especially zucchini. I don’t particularly care for zucchini, but when I brought home an eight-pound squash last week, we spent the week eating it disguised in many creative forms. The most creative, most consumptive way to use the surplus that we found was zucchini-zagna. Or maybe it’s zucchini-za? I think I’ve finally settled on zuke-zagna.

sliceszuke

zagna

No-Noodle Zucchini Zuke-Zagna Lasagna

Notes

This is essentially a classic lasagna, but with zucchini instead of noodles. It’s gluten-free when made this way, and could be vegetarian if you just left out the meat and used something like mushrooms instead to beef up the tomato sauce (so to speak).

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz. tomato sauce (use a jar of plain pasta sauce, or make your own with 1 14 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, and one 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes)
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • ½ tsp. dried basil, or 4 fresh basil leaves
  • ½ tsp. oregano
  • ½ tsp. parsley
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 lbs. zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 16 oz. ricotta
  • ¼ cup shredded parmasean cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 oz shredded mozzarella

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice zucchini thinly and salt it. After 30-60 minutes, rinse thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp. canola oil in a skillet on high heat. Add both meats and brown them until cooked through, stirring occasionally to brown evenly. Once meat is mostly cooked through, turn heat down to medium. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is almost translucent.
  4. Add tomato sauce, wine, and herbs to meat and onion mixture, and simmer for 15 minutes on low. This is an ideal time to rinse and dry your zucchini slices and whip up the ricotta.
  5. Speaking of which, in a separate bowl, mix the ricotta with the eggs and grated parmasean cheese.
  6. Taste the sauce. Is it too acidic? Add some sugar! Not acidic enough? Add a splash of red wine vinegar. Not salty enough? DON’T ADD MORE SALT YET. The zukes will take care of that one.
  7. Assemble the pieces: Start with a layer of zucchini slices, then add a layer of ricotta mixture, then tomato-meat sauce, then the mozzarella. Repeat two more times.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and starting to brown on top.
  9. Remove from oven, serve, and enjoy your surplus zukes.
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