The other day, I was watching the Dolce Vita show on the Cooking Channel. Let me tell you: that host is really actually living the sweet life, with his fields of fresh foods, and access to cheeses, and friends who all own a different type of food factory. There was even a communal water fountain where you can get still and sparkling water! Sparkling water that came out of a tap! Insane. I am very jealous and plans are underway for my move to Italy.
But I digress. On one particular show, the host was making zucchini “meatballs”. As you know, I don’t shy away from zucchini after my initial shunning of the vegetable. But I have always paired it with lemon and garlic. It’s so light and fresh and summery tasting. But this guy, he not only suggested that zucchini should be paired with mint, he also said that mint and zucchini is the most natural pair! Again, this blew my mind.
But who am I to argue with a guy who’s so cool that he picks his own tomatoes from his backyard and eats it like an apple. (I mean, can you get cooler than that!?). So I went with it. And even added his suggestion of a smoked cheese. And then ate them with a tomato salad with basil, another herb! The fritters had all of these totally different flavors that went perfectly together. I was amazed. Seriously, you can find me in Italy soon.
Zucchini Fritters with Cherry Tomato Salad (recipe from The Cooking Channel)
- 3 large zucchini, chopped
- 1/2 cup smoked mozzarella, cubed
- 1 cup soft Pecorino cheese, cubed
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup, plus extra for coating
- 1/2 cup olive oil
For Cherry Tomato Salad:
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 4-5 basil leaves
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
For the fritters: Add the chopped zucchini to salted boiling water for 8-10 minutes, until fork tender. Drain the excess water from the zucchini. Leave in colander until cool to handle and mash.
In a mixing bowl, add the zucchini, smoked mozzarella cheese, Pecorino cheese, fresh mint leaves, eggs, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs. Mix well until the ingredients are evenly distributed. With your hands, shape the fritters into the size of golf balls. Coat the meatballs in the additional bread crumbs.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a deep frying pan. Gently place the meatballs into the hot oil and let fry until golden, turning to make sure that all sides are crispy. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain the excess oil. Serve with the tomato salad.
To make the tomato salad: Add the cherry tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and mix together.