Fried Ithaca Zucchini Cakes with Dill Yogurt Sauce


Now is the time to start preparing for holiday parties.  What better item on your menu to begin with than the appetizer you will be passing around before the main dish?  I got this recipe from the book, Small Bites by Jennifer Joyce.

Fried Ithaca zucchini cakes 

You will need:
-1 lb (500g) small zucchini, trimmed
-1 tbsp salt
-1 and 3/4 cups fine fresh breadcrumbs
-6 green onions, finely chopped
-2 eggs, lightly beaten
-2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
-1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
-a little flour for shaping
-olive oil, for frying
-lemon wedges, to serve

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 12 minutes
Makes: 15-18 small cakes

To remove excess moisture from the zucchini, grate, sprinkle with the salt, and leave in a colander for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).  Reserve 8 tablespoons of breadcrumbs, spread the remaining breadcrumbs on a nonstick baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until golden and crisp.  Set aside to cool.
Rinse the zucchini and squeeze with your hands to remove as much liquid as possible, or the cakes will be too wet.  Spread on a clean dish towel and blot with another.  Mix the zucchini with the onions, eggs, feta, reserved breadcrumbs, mint, and nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.  Using floured hands, form the mixture into 15-18 plump, round 2-in-(5-cm-) wide patties.  Press the patties into the toasted breadcrumbs, making sure they are coated all over.
Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add enough olive oil to submerge half of each patty, and heat until a small piece of bread, dropped in, sizzles immediately.  Fry the patties for about 3 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve with the yogurt sauce and lemon wedges.
The cakes can be fried 2 hours before serving and reheated for 5 minutes in an oven preheated to 400°F (200°C).  The dill yogurt sauce can be prepared in the morning of serving day.

Dill Yogurt Sauce

You will need:
-14 oz (400g) plain, natural, full-fat yogurt
-2 tbsp fresh dill
-1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

Beat the yogurt until smooth, then stir in the dill, salt, and pepper.

The author says that the breadcrumbs keep these vegetable cakes plump and crisp. She also mentions that the cakes are equally tempting hot or at room temperature, with the refreshing dill yogurt for dipping.  Hope your cakes are a hit—just like your party!

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