08 August 2017

Zucchini: Fritters <—> Cake

Zucchini fritters — beignets de courgettes — are a late-summer classic wherever people plant summer squash in their vegetable gardens. I made some the other day, and they were delicious.

The recipe is very simple. Just mix together:

1 large zucchini, grated
1 small onion, diced
3 eggs, beaten
½ cup grated cheese
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
salt, pepper, spices, and herbs

Remember, a U.S. cup is 8 fluid ounces — dry ingredients are measured out by volume, not weight, in the U.S.
Let the batter rest for 20 to 30 minutes. Then use a ladle or big spoon to drop batter into a pan with a little bit of vegetable oil or butter. When the fritters start to brown around the edges, turn them over and finish cooking them on the other side. Drain the fritters on paper towels and keep them warm in the oven while you cook some more.

Serve the fritters as a main course or as a side dish. They would be good with a yogurt sauce like Greek tzatziki. We had ours with a chorizette sausage (mostly beef with some pork and lamb, and spicy).
I had made a lot of fritter batter and I used only half of it to make about a dozen good-size fritters. I put the rest in the refrigerator, wondering if it would freeze well. Then I thought: it's just a cake batter. So I added some more flour and another egg to the remaining batter and baked it in a loaf pan in the oven.
What I wanted was a savory zucchini bread, so I added some spices (turmeric for color, black pepper, cayenne pepper, fennel powder, cumin) and I sauteed a package of smoked pork lardons to mix into the batter. And it worked. It made a moist cake that's good served cold with a glass of wine at apéro time.

The next time I want to make a savory cake, I think I'll make the fritter batter and just bake it as a cake rather than cook it in a frying pan. I'll let you know how it works out.


  1. Replies
    1. Hope you arrived home safely. We are awaiting delivery of our new freezer. And I have an appointment with my doctor in just a few minutes.

    2. Smooth TGV — InOui ?? — ride from Aix-en-Provence.

      Hope everything goes well with the doctor.

      Here, in Paris, it's overcast; miss already the southern blue skies.

  2. Well,that's supper sorted.... corned beef and onion fritters with salad! Thanks Ken!!
    I adore courgette fritters, but we've only had one courgette this year... the plants are not liking this drought.....
    no matter how often you water, they get wilted by the sun during the day....
    and they and the toms are not liking it!
    Hey ho.... that's gardening for you..... thank the lords above we don't need to grow for a living....
    To us it is an edible outdoor gym! And a hobby with rewards.....

    1. I think our soil, full of clay, does better in dry years than yours does. Ours holds moisture; it isn't well drained. In wet summers, we have problems. At the same time, our neighbor the mayor says her courgettes have been a disaster this year.

      We just had a lunch of courgettes lasagne that is to die for.

  3. The courgette recipe sounds very tasty. I'll definitely make it into a savoury cake. Excellent idea. Courgette fritters and tzatziki complement each other perfectly!

  4. mmmm :) I love the crispy edges of these pancake and fritter things.

  5. Both recipes look delicious! Do you drain that zucchini? BTW your spinach souffle is my granddaughter’s favorite finger food now. I freeze it for her in baby size portions. I’ll see if she likes these fritters.

  6. i make zucchini fritters with hardly any flour and fewer eggs but they freeze well so you should give yours a try...that cake looks so nice & moist

    1. Nigella Lawson's fritter recipe resembles the one I make (3 eggs, 1¼ cups flour):

      Courgette Fritters
      Nigella Lawson’s recipe

      4 courgettes (approx. 750 g)
      5–6 spring onions, finely chopped
      250 g feta cheese
      small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
      small bunch fresh mint, chopped, plus extra to sprinkle over at the end
      1 tablespoon dried mint
      1 teaspoon paprika
      140 g plain flour
      salt and pepper
      3 eggs, beaten
      olive oil for frying
      3–4 limes

      1. Coarsely grate the courgettes with either the grating blade in the processor or by hand.

      2. Spread the little shards out on a tea towel and leave for about 20 minutes to get rid of any excess wetness.

      3. Put the chopped spring onions in a bowl and crumble in the feta. Stir in the chopped parsley and mint, along with the dried mint and paprika. Add the flour and season well with salt and pepper. Gradually add the beaten egg and mix thoroughly before stirring in the drained, grated courgettes. Don’t be alarmed by the unflowing straggly lumpiness of this batter; it’s meant to be this way.

      4. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and drop heaped dessertspoons of the mixture into the hot oil, flattening the little cakes down with the back of the spoon as you go. Cook these little patties for about 2 minutes each side until golden, and then transfer to a couple of waiting plates.

      5. Chop up the limes and tumble them about the edges of the plates. Sprinkle over a little more chopped mint and eat them just as they are, spritzed with lime juice as you go.

  7. I've been making zucchini fritters for about 20 years, using the recipe in Sue Styles' Taste of Alsace book. Interestingly, the finished product looks almost identical, but the recipe is very different. No milk or cheese, and only 3 tablespoons of flour. And a shallot instead of onion.
    I'm puzzled about one thing, Ken. You say the end: "The next time I want to make a savory cake, I think I'll make the fritter batter and just bake it as a cake rather than cook it in a frying pan. I'll let you know how it works out." Isn't that what you did in the last part of the post?

    1. Bob, I used about half the batter I made when I cooked fritters, so I had half left over. I added some flour and another egg, plus spices, to the leftover batter and baked that into a cake. Next time, I'm going to just make the fritter batter and bake it as is to make a savory cake. I bought some chicken to put in the cake next time (tomorrow or Friday).

    2. Thanks Ken. And here's the recipe from Taste of Alsace that I've been using forever. I'll now have to try one of the variations mentioned.
      About 1 lb. Zucchini. Grate and put in colander with 1 tsp. Salt and leave for 1-1 ½
      hours. Then, squeeze out as much water as possible and put them in a bowl with:
      3 eggs
      some pepper
      2 Tbsp. Chopped parsley and/or chives
      1 finely chopped shallot
      3 Tbsp. flour
      Fry them for about 2 minutes a side.

  8. I'm going to try this--looks yummy! Thanks.

  9. I don't feel like cooking. But I sure would love to have one of those , ok two of those Zucchini Fritters :)

  10. Those fritter photos are making my mouth water!

  11. Suece, say Fritter Photos fast 10 times :)

  12. Well, the batter for the fritters is resting. I debated chopping up a bit of ham as you did for your loaf, but think I'll go full-veg tonight. I'm going to serve some leftover tomato sauce on the side. I was wondering WHAT to have for dinner when I saw your post!

  13. I think you just gave me an idea for dinner. Thanks!

  14. Ken, about how large is that "large" zucchini?

    1. It was a large one. I wish I had weighed it or packed it, grated, into a measuring cup. I grated the whole zucchini, made the batter, and then put in as much as I thought the batter would take. It took it all, but then I added in a little more milk. I figured that with three eggs in it, the batter would cook up fine, and it did.

    2. Weighing another large courgette we just got out of the garden, I'd estimate the amount of grated zucchini I used in the fritter batter was about 700g (1½+ lbs.). I think I scraped out the pulp and seeds and just used the firm flesh and tender green skin in the fritters.

    3. Thanks; maybe we'll give this a try for lunch, with zuchs from the grocery store--no zucchini in my garden this year.


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