This is it. My all time favorite recipe from Crete, maybe from the whole Mediterranean Diet: Zucchini Fritters by Koula Barydakis. How can one go wrong? Zucchini, onions, fresh mint, fresh parsley, two cheeses (feta and cheddar), bread crumbs, and eggs made into delectable morsels and then fried in extra virgin olive oil.
These are great for any meal, eaten with eggs for a true Mediterranean Diet breakfast or with a Greek salad at lunch or dinner. Hell, I made them for our wedding! I usually will double the batch, fry them all and then freeze leftovers in ziploc bags, about 6 per bag. They defrost quickly and are great for when you don’t know what to make for dinner or just need a speedy snack. Sometimes, I serve them with Tzatziki on top or just plain Greek yogurt. They are a complete meal in themselves (healthy fat, protein, carbs and healing herbs). They are always the most popular hors d’oeuvre at any party and you will make friends if you bring them.
Any hoodles, I guess you have figured out that I love these. Here are a few tips on how to make them perfectly.
Grate don’t chop. You definitely want to grate the zucchini and the onions. This gives it a texture you can’t get from chopping.
Salt and squeeze. Place the grated zucchini and onions in a colander and top with lots of salt. Wait 10-15 minutes and really squeeze the remaining liquid out. Usually, I grab a handful and squeeze the liquid out and then put in the mixing bowl. This is still done this way in Crete even in restaurants.
Don’t add too many bread crumbs. I add the bread crumbs slowly. You want the zucchini mixture to have just enough bread crumbs so that you can form a patty. If you use too many, the fritters will come out bready.
Don’t let the oil burn. Fry the fritters on medium heat. I usually get the fritters formed and then turn on the heat. When you are between batches it is good to take the pan off the heat. If the oil gets too hot and begins to smoke, you should discard and replace.
That’s it. I hope you enjoy these fritters as much as I do!
Making Zucchini Fritters in Crete at Koula’s cooking class.
Here are a few tips on how to perfectly make these Greek zucchini feta fritters:
Grate, don’t chop. You definitely want to grate the zucchini and the onions using a food processor or box grater. This gives the Greek fritters a texture you can’t get from chopping.
Salt and squeeze. Place the grated zucchini and onions in a colander and top them with lots of salt. Wait for 10 to 15 minutes and really squeeze the remaining liquid out. Usually, I grab a handful and squeeze the liquid out and then put it in the mixing bowl. This is still how they do it in Crete, even in restaurants.
Don’t add too many breadcrumbs. I add the breadcrumbs slowly. You want the zucchini mixture to have just enough breadcrumbs so that you can form a patty. If you use too many, the fritters will come out bready.
Don’t let the oil burn. Fry the fritters on medium heat. I usually get the fritters formed and then turn on the heat. When you are between batches, it is good to take the pan off the heat. If the oil gets too hot and begins to smoke, you should discard it and replace it.
Use the fresh herbs of your choice. Some people prefer fresh dill, chives, or fresh basil leaves over fresh mint.
Swap the grated onion for minced green onion/scallions or red onion.
Besides cheddar cheese, you can pair the feta with grated mozzarella cheese or parmesan cheese instead.
For extra flavor, add a minced garlic clove.
I hope you enjoy these Greek zucchini patties as much as I do!
Why do my zucchini fritters fall apart?
The two main reasons fritters fall apart are that the batter is too wet or they stick to the skillet. So first, make sure you squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the zucchini and stick to the set amount of binding ingredients in the batter. Secondly, fry them over medium heat. You don’t want the skillet to be too hot.
How do you keep fritters together?
You keep fritters together by removing as much liquid as possible and using binding agents like flour, breadcrumbs, and eggs. In this instance, breadcrumbs and eggs are keeping our fritters together.
Why are my fritters soggy in the middle?
The main reason behind soggy fritters is not sufficiently drawing the water out of the zucchini. Follow my instructions above regarding salting, sitting, and squeezing the liquid out of the zucchini as much as possible. Trust me, it makes the biggest difference.
Why are my fritters not crispy?
If your fried zucchini fritters aren’t crispy, your oil is probably not hot enough. If you try to cook the fritters in oil that isn’t hot, they will absorb the oil and become soggy.
Can you make baked zucchini fritters?
You can cook your feta zucchini fritters in the air fryer. Spray them with cooking spray and air fry them in a single layer for approximately five minutes on each side. I recommend the air fryer over the oven for baked zucchini fritters.
What do you serve with zucchini fritters?
There are endless options for serving Greek-style zucchini fritters:
How do you store leftover Greek zucchini fritters?
Store leftover Greek vegetable fritters in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat them in a 200-degree oven or air fryer until heated through. You can also freeze the fritters in resealable bags for up to three months. Briefly thaw them at room temperature and then reheat them as above.
Zucchini Fritters with Feta, Cheddar, Mint and Parsley
Place grated zucchini and onion in a colander. Add ½ Tablespoon salt, mix and let drain for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze out extra liquid with hands.
In a large bowl, add 2 beaten eggs, cheddar and feta, 1 cup bread crumbs, mint, parsley, and ground pepper. Add zucchini/onion mixture. Mix ingredients with a fork. Continue adding breadcrumbs until fritters can be formed with your hands.
Beat 2 eggs in a small bowl.
In another bowl, add 1 cup breadcrumbs.
Heat 1 cup of olive oil in a frying pan. Be careful not to overheat oil.
Form fritters with mixture, dip in or brush with egg and then bread crumbs.
Koula Barydakis was born into a long tradition of eating and living Mediterranean on the Greek island of Crete. She is a chef who has worked in many of the top restaurants in Crete and in Greek Town in Toronto, Canada. Koula is the co-author of “Foods of Crete, Traditional Recipes of the Healthiest People in the World” and is currently completing her second cookbook. Koula teaches cooking classes to tourists in Crete and has been hired to teach classes in other countries as well.