We’re getting our first real cold front this weekend. As I type, it’s only 37 degrees out, and tonight it will be even colder. Of course, this is Florida, so we can still wear shorts and flip flops later today, if we choose. But this morning, it’s all long-sleeves and sweaters and cuddling on the sofa with a cozy red blanket.
I’ve been having pangs of wistfulness for the days before we adjusted our clocks back one week ago. I adored gaining that extra hour – though I can’t think of anything productive that I did with it – but I do miss the early evening sunlight. I miss being able to sit on my front porch when I get home from work, rocking in my rocker and listening to the birds and squirrels.
It’s just not the same, sitting there in the dark.
Our summer and early fall vegetables tend to hang around for a while, thanks to our warm Florida climate. Some of you up north may even still have zucchini showing up in the markets. If you do, these Spicy Zucchini and Ricotta Fritters make great use of the vegetable. You could omit the jalapeno and cayenne, if you wish, but I don’t recommend it. The heat really adds something to the recipe.
The fritters make for a wonderful vegetarian side dish or appetizer, but they also make for a great light lunch. My daughter and I did just that one day, sitting down to a batch of zucchini fritters and a couple of glasses of iced tea. Madeline enjoyed them so much that I had to keep her from eating the whole batch.
Spicy Zucchini & Ricotta Fritters
Yield: approx 15 fritters
These make a wonderful vegetarian side dish or appetizer. Be sure to serve with lemon, for squeezing over the top right before taking a bite.
2 medium zucchini, coarsely shredded
1/2 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
Zest from one lemon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
Olive oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, jalapeno, garlic, scallions, ricotta cheese, eggs, lemon zest, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Stir well until combined. Add the flour and cornmeal and stir until incorporated.
Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil over moderate high heat until shimmering. In batches, add 2-tablespoon mounds of zucchini batter to the hot oil, spreading them out to form approximately 3-inch fritters. Fry until browned and crisp, turning once, about 3 minutes total. Drain the fritters on the paper towels and serve immediately. Serve with lemon wedges.
*Fritters can made in advance. Store for up to 2 hours at room temperature. Re-warm in a 325 degree oven.
Adapted from this recipe in Food & Wine.