Fritters are found in almost every corner of the world; they’re simply enticing tidbits of fruit, vegetable, or meat coated in some variation of dough or batter then deep-fried. There’s a reason they’re adored world wide; besides fitting in to any menu or cuisine style, fritters are one of life’s tastiest – and least expensive – culinary pleasures. They come in multiple forms – from dessert-worthy clouds of fragrant apple fritter to toothsome nuggets of corn goodness.
Savory fritters can transform any meal into an indulgent pleasure, most especially during the holiday season, though there’s no reason not to indulge year round. They’re perfect for adding a touch of extraordinary to your Thanksgiving table, where the challenge has always been to prepare vegetables that people just can’t pass up, a challenge until now that is.
But then there’s making them… Can you have tasty fritters that (a) don’t involve the mess of deep frying, (b) are as tasty as they are healthy, and (c) are fairly simple to prepare? Absolutely! And best of all, they can be made ahead – making them perfect for your busy Thanksgiving kitchen!
To add the “healthy” into fritter, we’ll need to base them on fresh grated produce; my favorite is a colorful fusion of zucchini, carrots and crisp green apple. Then, we nix the deep fryer and opt to pan sauté instead. The real flavor secret here though is to replace the usual flour binder with finely crushed tortilla chips. This not only gives the fritters an appealing corn profile, but adds a pleasing crunchy texture. The bonus is they will be perfect for any gluten-free guests.
Serve a heaping platter of these fritters along with sour cream (or take it to a healthier level with lightly salted Greek yogurt) plus finely minced chives for garnishing, and you’ve got an irresistible vegetable dish for any Thanksgiving table. Why, even staunch veggie-phobics tend to forget their finicky attitude when it comes to these fritters.
Of course, don’t overlook the opportunity to serve these alongside fried eggs for a fab breakfast. I’m a big advocate of offering a hearty morning meal on Thanksgiving to hold everyone over till the main feast. If you’re making them to start out the day, try folding in a ½ cup or so of finely minced ham, crispy bacon shards or spicy cooked chorizo.
Best of all, these fritters are not only healthy, they’re versatile; vary them by subbing in grated parsnip, butternut or other squash for the carrot. Veggie-based fritters are fast to prepare, inexpensive and totally delish; they’re destined to become your go-to culinary star for the “company’s coming” season. It may be kitschy but I simply must ask; what could be tastier than “frittering away” your Thanksgiving day?
Irresistible Vegetable Fritters: Makes 16-18 3-inch fritters
1 medium zucchini
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored
1 teaspoon salt
1 small lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large carrot
2 medium shallots or ½ small onion, finely minced
3 green onions, finely minced
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1 ½ tsp. herbs de Provence, fines herbs, Italian or favorite herb blend
1 cup very finely crushed tortilla chips (crushed seed or nut crackers work well also)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon aleppo or red pepper flakes (optional)
3 extra large eggs
¼ – ⅓ cup olive or avocado oil
Sour cream and finely minced chives or green onions for garnish
1. Using a large grater, grate the zucchini and apple into a bowl. Toss with the salt and let sit for 15 minutes. Using a towel (or your hands), wring the water out of the zucchini and apple until quite dry.
2. Using a fine microplane grater, grate the lemon zest over the zucchini, then toss with the tablespoon of olive oil. If not using right away, place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
3. Grate the carrot on a large grater. Combine zucchini with the carrot, shallots, green onions, garlic, herbs, finely crushed tortilla chips, and pepper. Pour the beaten eggs over the vegetable mixture and toss well.
4. Thoroughly heat a cast-iron skillet or heavy pan to slightly over medium heat; coat pan with 2-3 tablespoons of oil (use more as needed for your pan). Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, drop mounds of the mixture 3-inches apart in the pan and immediately flatten slightly with the back of a spoon or spatula.
5. Cook until golden and crispy – about 3 minutes per side. Place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or paper towels and keep hot in a warm oven. Serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of chives.
Note: To make ahead, cool then store in the refrigerator in an airtight container using paper towels between layers to keep them dry. When ready to serve, place on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer, and heat in a 325º oven until hot.
Candy Lesher, Chef and Culinary Wellness Coach, Training and coaching clients to achieve a healthy culinary lifestyle based on their medical directives and personal tastes, through custom-designed menus and recipes. You can reach Candy at email@example.com, or call her at 480-266-0701.