I just love the power of social media. Several years ago, thanks to Facebook, we reconnected with Susan Adie, a dear friend from our days working with Clipper Cruise Line, a small-ship cruise line with a focus on expedition travel.
Susan was an expedition leader on many of our voyages, and we worked with her on a variety of ships and itineraries across the globe, from Norway's High Arctic realm of Svalbard, through the murky waters of the Brazilian Amazon and the crystal clear sea of the Caribbean, all the way down to the pristine wilderness of Antarctica.
A keen naturalist, Susan holds a degree in environmental science and education from Cornell University, and her passion for the world's wildlife and our environment is authentic and contagious. In addition to her travel work, Susan also founded a nonprofit project designed to introduce school groups to remote parts of the world through electronic media.
In fact, I reached out to Susan when our son, Gio, was working on a school project about Sir Ernest Shackleton, the famed polar explorer. Not only did she provide us with great resources, she also had us send her a photo of Gio and then arranged to have a photo taken, with Gio's photo, at Sir Ernest's gravesite in Grytviken, on South Georgia Island.
Fortunately for us, Susan is also passionate about good food, and will often reach out after we've posted a recipe on Facebook. After trying our recipe for Savory and Sweet Corn Pancakes earlier this summer, Susan sent us the recipe for one of her summertime favorites, Zucchini Fritters, entirely unaware that this summer squash was growing in our garden for the first season, ever.
We have been waiting since mid-July for our zucchini to be harvest-ready, just so we could give Susan's recipe a try. But we planted our garden late this year, and between the heavy rains and hungry rabbits, everything has just been limping along, struggling to come to life. So we were more than delighted to discover late last week that we finally had a zucchini ready to pick — Gio's first, ever.
Susan's recipe requires the zucchini to be grated, and you can use a stand-up cheese grater or a food processor with the grate attachment for this purpose. I used the processor, and my zucchini was perfectly grated in about a minute.
The zucchini fritters are fried in oil, and Susan stresses the importance of sweating the moisture from the zucchini to create a superior texture. Once grated, place the zucchini in a colander, sprinkle it with salt and let it sit in the sink for at least 10 minutes-this will cause the moisture to drain from the vegetable. Next, roll the zucchini up in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze it out over the sink, extracting as much water as possible.
The fritters are best when served immediately, but I reheated a batch for Tony after being refrigerated for six or seven hours, and they were still great. So good, in fact, that he has asked me to make them again this week.
Today, Susan is the expedition operations manager with G Adventures, where she still works as an expedition leader on key voyages. We are grateful for the many wonderful friends we made in our days with Clipper Cruise Line, especially when we can reconnect with them again through the wonderful world of food.
Susan Adie's Zucchini Fritters
1½ pounds zucchini (about 3 medium-large), grated, skin-on
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 egg¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup canola oil
Mix grated zucchini with ½ teaspoon of salt, and place in a colander over the sink to drain. After 10 minutes, transfer zucchini to the center of a clean kitchen towel, wrap towel around it jellyroll-style, and squeeze out over the sink until all water is extracted.
Place zucchini in a bowl and mix in egg, flour, cornstarch, garlic, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and pepper, to taste.In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat (do not allow it to smoke). Use a ¼ cup measuring cup or small ice cream scoop to scoop mounds of zucchini into the oil, and flatten slightly. Do not overcrowd your pan; you will need to work in two batches.
Cook each fritter for about 3 minutes or until the underside is golden and crispy; flip and cook for 3 more minutes on the other side.Transfer fritters to a paper towel-lined plate, lightly sprinkle with salt, and allow them to drain. Serve hot with Sarah's Asian dipping sauce.
- It is important to squeeze as much water as possible out of the zucchini using the kitchen towel.
- If you cannot eat the fritters immediately, you may keep them warm in a 200-degree oven for up to 30 minutes. Reheating is not recommended as they will become soggy. (Note from Sarah: I reheated them after refrigerating for 6 to 7 hours, using a frying pan with a touch of canola oil, and they were still great.)
Sarah's Asian Dipping Sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 to 3 teaspoons hot sauce (Sriracha, Sambal, Tabasco), as desired
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients until well combined, starting with 1 teaspoon of hot sauce and adding more as desired. When mixed, taste and adjust flavors as desired.
- For additional flavor, add a touch of ginger to the dipping sauce.
"Home With the Lost Italian" is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owns Sarello's in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their 11-year-old son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org. All previous recipes can be found at thelostitalian.areavoices.com.