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.


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.

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18 Responses to “the icing on my week: a white cake with strawberry filling and buttercream frosting”

  1. Flavia — May 7, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

    Beautiful post, Merry! Your pictures of the cake are lovely. Congratulations on having your essay accepted! I know you will write your book someday and I’ll be ready and waiting to read it. 🙂

  2. Winnie — May 7, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

    Gorgeous cake MJ and congrats on the essay acceptance. I’ve absolutely no doubt-none at all-that you will write your book. Make that books.

  3. Macaroni Mama — May 7, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

    Very nice post, MJ. You are a better mom than I ever was…involving your children in your passion.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — May 8th, 2012 @ 11:50 am

      Mom, not true. I’m not better – just a little different. I love you.

  4. Kathryn — May 8, 2012 @ 5:51 am

    Congratulations on the essay acceptance, that is such a wonderful achievement (and no more than you deserve!). What a delicious cake to make the occasion as well.

  5. sweetie — May 8, 2012 @ 6:59 am

    your blog is one of the few where i actually read the post in full. it’s no wonder your writing is well received. looking forward to the book. or making this cake. whichever comes first.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — May 8th, 2012 @ 11:49 am

      Wow. Thank you for that compliment! I’m so, so honored to have you say that.

  6. SMITH BITES — May 8, 2012 @ 7:25 am

    I don’t think there’s anything better than baking w/kids MJ . . . Except getting an article accepted to a publication – congrats on both!

  7. art and lemons — May 8, 2012 @ 8:11 am

    Yay, write on lady! Congrats all around. There’s nothing better than when a piece of writing comes together easily with minor edits and then straight to publication. Here’s to many more and oh, that cake. Gorgeous. My son has requested a strawberry chocolate cake for his birthday and I think this strawberry filling is just what I’ve been looking for.

  8. Julia — May 8, 2012 @ 9:20 am

    Truly stunning cake… I can’t stop staring at the filling. And the couple berries on top…

  9. Deb — May 8, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

    An interesting story and a scrumptious cake make for a most delightful post!

  10. Paula — May 8, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

    Congratulations on your article being accepted (and so quickly) and how nice was it that you and the kids made this lovely looking cake together!

  11. Erin — May 11, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

    Hi, Jen! This is divine! Just in time for Mother’s Day! I must get this right, wish me luck! 🙂

  12. Laura — October 13, 2012 @ 7:55 pm

    Lovely looking, but not so good cake! The frosting is very much like solid butter. Are you sure the measurements are correct?

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — October 13th, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

      They are correct. I’m sorry you didn’t like the frosting.

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  14. Petra — September 19, 2013 @ 6:58 am

    So much dough?? Oh la laa… And butter with jam as a frosting? Oh la laaa..

  15. Chantal — August 15, 2014 @ 6:52 am

    Beautiful cake! I am making it for my son’s birthday (he requested strawberry chocolate). One problem: 35 min was not enough and one layer has completely fallen apart! Eeeek perhaps it can be salvaged as a fake pinata cake? Will a 5 yr old know the difference?

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