Fritters always make me happy. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, these sometimes savory, sometimes sweet treats are welcome anytime at the dinner table or the lunch table. And I'm not ashamed to say I've eaten them for breakfast.
While they can be made with almost anything, at any time of the year, summertime is when they really shine. Corn fritters are certainly the fan favorite, and I don't disagree. There's nothing better than a corn fritter made with peak-season sweet corn.
Since corn season will soon come to a close, I wanted to remind everyone that if you haven't made a summer corn fritter yet, there's still time. And while you're at it, why not include another summer veggie that's available in abundance this time of year — zucchini. That's what I've done with this week's recipe, Corn and Zucchini Fritters with Parmesan Chive Dipping Sauce.
Making fritters isn't difficult, but in the case of corn and zucchini fritters, there are a couple of steps that can help avoid any pitfalls.
Most people who have made corn fritters have encountered the dreaded "popping corn" fritter syndrome, where corn kernels build up steam during the cooking process and explode, splattering hot oil all over the kitchen and, more important, the cook. That's not fun, but it's not inevitable if you take one preliminary step.
Sautéing the corn first eliminates a lot of the moisture in the kernels, which means much less popping. It also concentrates the flavor and allows for maximum crispiness, because moisture is not a fritter's friend.
Which brings us to the zucchini. Zucchini carries a lot of water, and the water starts seeping out during cooking. That excess moisture can turn your batter into a watery mess, causing your fritter to fall apart in the cooking process. No problem. Salting the grated zucchini in advance and squeezing it in a clean dish towel will render this sometimes soggy vegetable virtually dry.
Now all that's left to do is whisk together a quick, easy, creamy dipping sauce and decide if these tasty treats are going to be served as a light lunch, a side or an appetizer for dinner — or the most popular dish on the brunch table.
Corn and Zucchini Fritters with Parmesan Chive Dipping Sauce
Serves 6 to 8.
Golden, crispy and delicious, these addictive fritters highlight the best of summer's bounty. From Meredith Deeds.
• 2 medium zucchinis, coarsely shredded
• 1 tsp. salt, divided
• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 1/2 c. finely chopped onion
• 2 ears corn, kernels cut off
• 1/2 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
• 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
• 1/4 tsp. baking soda
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 c. buttermilk
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• Vegetable oil
• Parmesan Chive Dipping Sauce (see recipe)
Toss the zucchini with 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; let stand 20 minutes. Wrap the zucchini in a kitchen towel and squeeze to remove as much liquid as possible.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add corn, red pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet, until lightly browned in spots, about 6 to 8 minutes. Set aside.
Whisk the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl. Stir in the buttermilk and egg. Add the corn mixture and zucchini and stir just until combined.
Carefully wipe out the skillet that the corn-onion mixture was cooked in. Heat about 1/8-inch vegetable oil over medium heat. Working in batches, drop six (2-tablespoon) portions of the batter into the skillet. Use a spatula to flatten out the batter slightly. Fry until golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Parmesan Chive Dipping Sauce
Makes about 1 cup
From Meredith Deeds.
• 1/4 c. buttermilk
• 1/4 c. sour cream
• 1/4 c. mayonnaise
• 1/2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
• 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 tbsp. finely chopped chives
In a medium bowl, mix together the buttermilk, sour cream, mayonnaise, garlic, salt, pepper, Parmesan and chives. Serve, and refrigerate any leftovers.
Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at email@example.com. Follow her on Instagram at @meredithdeeds.