Watch Them Disappear: Zucchini and Ricotta Fritters

Season any leftover ricotta and form it into quenelles to top the fritters.

Zucchini fritters must be one of the “it foods” right now because they’re featured in both the trendspotting section of the August edition of Food & Wine and in a feature on zucchini in this month’s Everyday Food. Makes sense to me. The zucchini are flooding into markets, farm stands, and CSAs and everyone’s looking for fresh ideas for using them. Zucchini fritters are technically easy to make and well worth the mess.

Both recipes noted above are pretty similar, except the Food & Wine recipe is Mario Batali’s and calls for ricotta, and that spells delicious. My kids will eat just about anything that has ricotta in it and have even asked to be served bowls of fresh ricotta for breakfast. Ignore the fact that the recipe lists sheep-milk ricotta. Maybe you were lucky enough to remember to pick some up at the farmers’ market (it was sold out last week), so I picked up some fresh ricotta made by Liuzzi’s at Whole Foods instead. The kids offered to taste it and make sure it was good enough for fritters. I had to pry their hands off the container before they ate the whole thing. Luckily the recipe only calls for half a cup.

Add batter to the pan, then flatten it until the height is uniform and pull in any unruly edges.

Kids of any age can help you make this dish. Just keep them away from the mandolin if you use it to shred the zucchini. A properly set up food processor with a julienne attachment is a child-safe way to shred zucchini as long as an adult is supervising and zucchini are pushed through the feeding tube with the proper equipment-never hands or a utensil. A child under 10 can zest the lemons, wash the vegetables, measure the flour and stir the batter.

Serve zucchini-ricotta fritters and watch them disappear.

The only modifications I made to Mario Batali’s recipe for Zucchini-Ricotta Fritters in Food & Wine were a dusting of fleur de sel after they’re cooked and the addition of a heaping teaspoon or quenelle of ricotta on each plate along with a sprinkling of fresh basil. Thankfully, he does not ask us to salt and drain the shredded zucchini. Serve with lemon wedges as directed; they need the extra zip. I warmed the remaining ricotta on the stove top and whisked in a little olive oil and lemon zest. Then I formed the mixture into quenelles to top each plate. Why quenelles? Because they’re pretty, and special, and are fun to pronounce. It amuses me to hear my kids say the word, and happy to see them eating their vegetables.

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