OH NO. It’s over. Today is the final instalment of ‘Lisa’s Lunches’, from our very own Lisa Marie Corso. All good things must come to an end!
Lisa leaves us with a signature dish that often finds its way into her weekday lunchbox – zucchini fritters. These delectable morsels are based on a recipe from Lisa’s Nonna, pimped up slightly with the addition of fetta and lemon zest. ‘It’s times like these I am glad Nonna doesn’t have the internet’ Lisa says.
Everyone has a vice, some are worse than others. Mine is olive oil. I can’t get enough. If you are a raw vegetable, beware, because you are about to enter the Lisa Marie Corso day spa. I will bathe you in olive oil and rub you in salt. I like to think of it as Italian exfoliation.
I have consumed so much olive oil in my 27 years that I’m certain there’s enough pumping through me to put Cobram Estate out of business. Every time I recount a recipe to my friends, they ask if I used a ‘Corso amount’ of olive oil, knowing that a glug or a splash is never enough. You know you have a serious problem when your name becomes part of the metric system.
It’s not just me. Fritters. Fritters love olive oil too. In fact, what is a fritter without olive oil, besides some sad, wet ingredients in a bowl? A fritter would literally fall apart without piping hot olive oil to give it that irresistible golden crunch. These zucchini fritters are based on my Nonna’s recipe, pimped up a little. It’s times like these I am so glad she doesn’t have the internet.
Ingredients (makes approx 12 fritters)
- 2 small zucchinis, sliced using a julienne peeler
- 1 egg
- 1-1.5 cups of flour
- 1 can of lemonade (yes)
- 1/2 a brown onion, diced
- 100g fetta
- 2 tsp of lemon zest, optional
- Olive oil, duh
The key to making a good zucchini fritter is how you prep your zucchini. Grating zucchini is an ordeal, it produces too much moisture, forcing you to wring the moisture out like it’s a wet towel. Personally, I like to keep my laundry and kitchen duties separate, which is why I cheat, and use a julienne peeler.
The julienne peeler is perhaps my favourite kitchen tool. It has a casual nonchalance about it. It effortlessly creates perfectly proportionate strips of zucchini that are ideal for frying. Once you peel your zucchinis, cut the strips in half. Put in a bowl.
Dice half a brown onion. Then in a pan, fry the onion until it is translucent and partially caramelised. Add onion to the bowl with the zucchini.
Let’s add a few more things to the bowl now. Add: one cup of flour, crumbled fetta (use as much or as little as you prefer), coarsely chopped parsley, lemon rind, egg, and a splash of warm lemonade. I know, weird right? But my Nonna adds lemonade, so who am I to judge? (I think it acts similarly to a bicarbonate agent, making the mixture light and airy).
Mix ingredients together. There’s your workout for the day.
If the fritter batter looks a little dry, add some tap water and a little more lemonade. You are after a partially wet consistency. I keep the remaining half cup of flour as ‘fritter insurance’ and use it sparingly if need be.
Now we fry.
Put a ‘Corso amount’ of olive in a pan. A ‘Corso amount’ is approximately 5 free-falling seconds worth of oil. Set pan to medium-high and allow oil to heat. Be patient, it is worth it.
Using a tablespoon, scoop dollops of the fritter batter into the pan. Wait for a sizzle. Enjoy the moment. Repeat process. Don’t crowd the pan!
Cook fritters until they are golden, then flip. Usually 2 minutes or so per side. Once cooked remove from pan and allow to drain on my Nonna’s favourite kitchen non-utensil: the paper towel.
These fritters taste exceptional when they are hot and crunchy, the little strips of zucchini go a bit tempura-like in texture. They also keep well in the fridge, and can even be eaten cold, which makes them perfect for a workday lunch.