Appetizers,  Recipes,  Side Dishes

Zucchini and Feta Fritters with Yogurt Caper Sauce

Zucchini Fritters
Zucchini Fritters

Sometimes there are people who impress you with their strength.
Sometimes they impress with their problem-solving skills.
Sometimes it’s their sheer force of will.
And sometimes, it’s the size of their heart that pulls all of these attributes together and takes an ordinary person to extraordinary. Chef Jose Andres is one of those people.

Well known for his skills in the kitchen and avant-garde cooking style using molecular gastronomy, Jose Andres evolved from Michelin starred chef to feeding millions of people after natural disasters. When the U.S. government couldn’t figure out how to its feed people after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, he did, using his organization World Central Kitchen to cook and distribute 3.5 million meals all over the island.
WCK has been doing this since the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti and has fed people all over the world and in the US (besides Puerto Rico, after they fed people after the wildfires in California and the hurricane in Texas, among others). There’s been a rumor of a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

Zucchini Fritter
Zucchini Fritter

I didn’t know any of this when I visited his restaurant Zaytinya last year in Washington DC. All I knew was that he was a respected chef with a great reputation and dozens of restaurants scattered all over the country. Zaytinya focuses on a diverse selection of Eastern Mediterranian inspired comfort food in a sharable plate, mezze style. There are no foams or nitrogen frozen bubbles here, simply solid cooking.

My mother and I arrived at lunchtime with no reservations and were seated at the bar. We enjoyed every bit of the meal, from the attentive service to the rose wine from Greece to the selection of small plates we ordered. One of the brightest standouts were the zucchini fritters and I knew I was going to have to recreate them and I did.

This dish takes a bit of prep work, but it’s worth the effort. It’s very flexible and can be served as an appetizer (try two per person), as a side dish, or even as a vegetarian main course. It’s best served hot, but also works at room temperature. If you grow zucchini in a home garden, I’m certain you will add this dish to your rotation.

Zucchini and Feta Fritters with Yogurt Caper Sauce

A recipe for Zucchini and Feta Fritters with Yogurt Caper Sauce, based on a dish at the Jose Andres restaurant, Zaytinya.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Keyword: fritter, zucchini
Servings: 18 each, 2 ounce Fritters

Ingredients

For the Fritters

  • 3 pounds fresh zucchini cleaned and grated (about 8 cups raw)
  • 1 ounce chopped green onion
  • ¼ ounce fresh flat leaf parsley chopped
  • ¼ ounce fresh mint chopped
  • ¼ ounce fresh oregano chopped
  • 3 ounces feta cheese grated or crumbled
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 6 each egg whites stiffly beaten
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the Sauce

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt plain
  • 1/3 cup minced capers drained
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Wash the zucchini, cut off the ends, and grate on a box grater in the largest holes (on in a cuisinart), leaving the skin on.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the grated zucchini for about 30 seconds. Drain and cool on a sheet pan. When cool, place the blanched zucchini in a clean cotton dish towel and squeeze out the excess moisture. You should be left with about 4 cups of zucchini.
  • Beat the egg whites on high until stiff peaks form.
  • Combine the blanched zucchini, chopped herbs, green onion, and feta cheese in a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle in the flour and breadcrumbs and fold in.
  • Fold in the whipped egg whites until just incorporated and then season with salt and pepper. The mixture will be wet.
    Cooking the Zucchini Fritters
  • Portion into 2 ounce patties. I used small prep bowls and a kitchen scale to help keep the sizes consistent and to slide them into the hot pan.
  • Heat a flat bottomed pan on medium high heat. Add 2 ounces of the oil and turn the heat down to medium.
  • Gently place the patties in the pan and cook until browned. Flip the patties over and cook until the other side is crisp, browned, and about 150 degrees inside. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
  • Repeat with remaining fritters.
  • To reheat before serving, place on a parchment paper lined sheet pan and reheat in an oven at 350 degrees for about 3-4 minutes if just cooked or about 10 minutes if cold.

To make the sauce:

  • Mix together the Greek yogurt, minced capers, water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on the side.

Plating:

  • If desired, garnish with fresh mint and extra capers.
Zucchini Fritters
Zucchini Fritters
Zucchini Fritters
Zucchini Fritters all on a platter

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