Makes A LOT (I think I got 3 dozen out of this batch.)
That saying, “don’t plant zucchini unless you have a lot of friends” couldn’t be more true! They have a way of taking over a garden. Around this time, I am usually inundated with all kinds of squash from friends trying to unload. So when that happens, it forces you to get creative. Let’s be honest: How many stir-frys or pasta with sauteed squash can you possibly have? Baking muffins or a quick bread is an effective way of using some of your squash. Pickling them is also a great choice. (More on pickles in the coming weeks.) Shredding and adding to salads or sandwiches works, but so does converting them into fritters.
In our last CSA box, we got a boat load of squash and after said stir-frys and pasta dishes were done, I just threw what was left into the food processor and started adding goodies to create a fritter bursting with flavor but that was light as opposed to heavy and oily, despite being pan-fried. Seems impossible, but you’d be wonderfully surprised.
Thinking about what to write about squash, I found that there’s not a lot of research done on the health benefits of squash, especially summer squash. They’re not dark leafy greens after all. Yet, they shouldn’t be ignored…how can they be ignored when they’re all over your garden or taking over your fridge?! And, that’s a good thing because they’re fiber rich which is good for gut and colon, and also means they’re protective against colon cancer. Fiber aids in digestion which helps move things, especially toxins, out of the body. They also help lower cholesterol and are anti-inflammatory, thanks to Vitamins C and A. As for minerals, magnesium and potassium make an appearance but the star of the mineral show happens to be manganese.
“Manganese helps the body metabolize protein and carbohydrates, participates in the production of sex hormones, and catalyzes the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol. The manganese in zucchini also increases the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), the enzyme responsible for protecting mitochondria against oxidative stress. Finally, manganese is essential for the production of proline, an amino acid that allows collagen to form, thus allowing for healthy skin and proper wound-healing.“¹
Suddenly it seems like a good thing that these squash are taking over our gardens and refrigerators!
3/4 C farmer’s cheese or ricotta
1/2 C scallions, chopped (about 3 scallions)
1/4 C basil, chiffonade* (I had some Thai Basil from the CSA so I used 2 T basil and 2 T Thai Basil to mix it up. Super yum combo!)
1/4 C flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 C spelt flour
1/2 C Parmigiano Reggiano
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 C squash, shredded
2 t lemon zest + more for garnish
1 t sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3-4 T extra-virgin olive oil + more as needed
1. In a bowl, add the cheese, scallions, herbs, salt and pepper and combine well. Add the flour in steps, slowly incorporating it into the mixture and follow with the Parmigiano.
2. Add squash and eggs and stir well until thoroughly combined.
3. Heat 2 T of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Using a tablespoon to measure, drop batter into skillet and pan fry for 4-5 minutes before turning over and cooking for another couple of minutes until golden brown. Remove fritters and place on a wire rack over a sheet pan (alternatively, you could line a plate with paper towels, but they may get soggy this way) to cool slightly. Repeat and add oil as needed.
*Chiffonade means to cut/slice into strips or ribbons as opposed to chopping which is more random. Basil lends itself to this cut. I haven’t gotten that far on the knife skills page, but I’ll get there!