spicy zucchini and ricotta fritters

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.

Yield: approx 15 fritters

Spicy Zucchini & Ricotta 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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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.

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33 Responses to “all-butter pie crust dough”

  1. Brian @ A Thought For Food — September 19, 2010 @ 6:59 pm

    I have to admit, I have never made a pie… but this year will be it! I’m gonna do it! And I think yours will be the recipe I use!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 19th, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

      Brian, I tend to make the same pie over and over again — pumpkin. And it’s getting to be that time of year again. My kids are already asking for my pumpkin pie, so that will probably be an upcoming post. I’ve been thinking of branching out into the other fruit pies. We can journey into pie baking together. 🙂

  2. Kim - Liv Life — September 19, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

    I love all butter pie crusts! That is the only kind I make. I had someone tell me the other day that if it wasn’t made with lard or shortening, it really wasn’t a pie crust… and this lady claims she is writing a book on pies! In any case, your crust look just perfect, and pumpkin pie sounds good!

  3. Gail — September 19, 2010 @ 11:23 pm

    My heart is soaring! You’re BAKING!!!!! BAKING!!!!!!! Baking a pie. Next up…cake.
    I adore making pie crust. Tart crust…..any crust. ‘Cause it means baking.

  4. Jennie — September 20, 2010 @ 7:01 am

    All-butter crusts are my favorite too. I’ve been in a fall sort of mood ever since we came back from Cape Cod. For me that’s the official end of summer. This September 23rd business is a mere formality. I even brought my pressure cooker out last week. Happy baking!

  5. Eileen — September 20, 2010 @ 8:42 am

    I’ve never made an all-butter crust before – I’ll bet it tastes rich and flavorful!

  6. Macaroni Mama — September 20, 2010 @ 9:53 am

    The song! The pie crusts! Those are definite signs of fall!

  7. Maria at Fresh Eats — September 20, 2010 @ 10:37 am

    I’m going to make a pie soon, and this crust is going to be my inspiration. I’m all about the all-butter variety. Shortening scares me. : )

  8. RavieNomNoms — September 20, 2010 @ 10:50 am

    Love it!

  9. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle — September 20, 2010 @ 10:59 am

    I could have written this post! I’ve used the Pillsbury crust for years and to be honest…still would without guilt but have found that if I make a double crust version like you have…I don’t need it because I always have a homemade version in the freezer.

    I use the standard Pate Brisee crust with a bit more sugar for a sweet filling which is almost exactly like yours but with a bit less sugar; is that the southerner..needing things a bit sweeter? 🙂

    In anticipation of knowing I’ll be making my own now, I also take a pound of the butter I get from Costco (you know…4 lbs at a time!), cube it and stick it in the freezer. I guess I end up with my own little pie dough section in there after all is said and done but those things keep the convenience factor up and the buying Pillsbury no longer a factor!

  10. May Ling Wu — September 20, 2010 @ 4:16 pm

    I always use store bought crust but this year I’m gonna try to make my own. Thanks for the post!

  11. Kate @ Savour Fare — September 20, 2010 @ 6:37 pm

    (Trader Joe’s frozen is really good). I’ll have to try this recipe, because while I love the rollability of my sour cream pie crust recipe, it’s almost too rich for some pies. I need to improve my pie dough skills, too. Husband loves pie.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 20th, 2010 @ 7:52 pm

      We don’t have a Trader Joe’s here, but I sure wish we did. Sour cream pie crust? Oh, my. I’m going to have to try that. That sounds like some serious goodness.

  12. Megan Gordon — September 20, 2010 @ 8:45 pm

    Yes…today has felt like fall big time here in CA. The light’s just different…I’ve had pie crust on my mind a lot lately. When I was in Seattle for IFBC, I took a pie class from Kate McDermott and she uses lard in addition to butter. I just started and I have to say, it’s kind of awesome (but strangely hard to find here!). But a classic butter pie crust? What’s better. Yours looks beautiful.

  13. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite — September 21, 2010 @ 6:44 am

    This is absolutely magical MJ. I am afraid of pastry and when I was at culinary school, it was the class where I had to keep leaving to room to calm down because I felt I was taking out all my frustration in my pastry! I have bookmarked this though and will try it soon with a fall pie!!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 21st, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

      Okay, Mardi. You, the macaron master, can absolutely handle a pie crust. If I can do it, I KNOW you can.

  14. Heather @ The Single Dish — September 21, 2010 @ 10:48 am

    Homemade pie crust is the best! I use Ina’s recipe- has Crisco and butter in it. Delicious! I might switch things up and try your all-butter dough. Thanks!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 21st, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

      Heather – I’ve used Ina’s recipe, too, and I like hers. The Crisco is just a little freaky to me. Something about the consistency. I’m weird, though. I admit it. 🙂

  15. Kirsten — September 21, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that I made this crust yesterday in a mascarpone apple pie, and it was wonderful! And so easy!! I had never made my own crust before- I, too, was a long-time purchaser of the Pillsbury. I usually abhor pie crust, but I found this to be quite palatable.
    Thanks for curing me 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 21st, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

      Yay, Kirsten! You just made my day. 🙂

  16. Judy — September 22, 2010 @ 12:16 am

    It’s amazing how much people are moving away from brands and store-bought convenience like Pillsbury. I recently just moved away from storebought breadcrumbs, amongst many, many other things. It’s great that once in a while your repertoire includes pie crust, home made! It’s also great that you guys have seasons. Looking forward to fall chowder and winter soups isn’t as dreary as it might sound. I would love it if it snowed on the tropical island where I am!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — September 22nd, 2010 @ 1:14 pm

      Judy – We sort of create our seasons here in north Florida. We have a very long summer and then a brief winter. Our fall and spring last for about 5 days each. 🙂

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  18. Chris — September 25, 2010 @ 8:57 am

    I am TOTALLY with you on the fear of shortening. I refuse to have it in my kitchen–there is something so processed and un-natural about it!– so all-butter pie crusts are all you’ll find in my kitchen. I am a diehard fan of Jamie Oliver’s all-butter crust recipes (I have a couple of them) but am intrigued by your addition of kosher salt. This is a must-try for my next pie. Thanks!

  19. Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — September 26, 2010 @ 12:31 am

    So glad to finally see a pie crust made with all butter (and none of that Crisco business). I know some people swear by it, but I’ve always made pie crusts with butter and they’re incredibly flaky. The trick is to have the butter and water super cold and not over process!

    Thank you!! Love your blog.

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