By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional
There is something to be said for that satisfying crunch that comes from butter being almost too hot, creating these edges of perfection when griddle cakes, fritters and other items are fried in cast iron. The secret really, lies in how consistent cast iron is when it comes to heat distribution. The sides are as thick as the bottom and so they radiate this amazing amount of heat.
When we were kids growing up, we went camping quite a bit every summer. As kids are wont to do on summer vacation, we slept in…that is, until we smelled breakfast cooking and heard that familiar sizzling sound that tended to accompany it. Talk about jumping up and running to the table. With 5 kids in our family, whomever was late to the table probably didn’t get more than a single piece of bacon or sausage. Them was the rules.
Mom made the same sort of food when camping as she did when at home. She took her cast iron skillets and pots with her every time. So the menu was usually a breakfast meat, toast, eggs and some sort of pancake or fritter.
- 1 Lb. Zucchini, Grated
- 1/2 Lb. Grape Tomatoes, Cut Into Quarters
- 1 Large Egg, Beaten
- 1 Tsp. Salt
- 1 Tsp. Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 Tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
- 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
- Olive Oil
- Butter, Unsalted
- 1 1/2 Cups Mexican Crema (Mexican Sour Cream)
- 2 Tbs. Fresh Dill, Chopped Fine
- 2 Tsp. Fresh Parsley, Chopped Fine
- 1 Tbs. Fresh Chives, Chopped Fine
- Wash your zucchini and grate with the large grate side of your grater. Place into a colander and then sprinkle with your salt. Toss gently and let sit in the sink to drain excess moisture from the zucchini for about 10 minutes.
- Take your zucchini and dump onto the middle of a thin kitchen towel or large piece of cheese cloth. Wrap the cloth around the zucchini and squeeze out as much of the remaining moisture as possible. Set to the side momentarily.
- Next, take your grape tomatoes and after rinsing, cut them into quarter sections. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together your flour, parmesan cheese, minced garlic, tomatoes, beaten egg, cracked black pepper and Old Bay seasoning. Combine well with a large spoon.
- Add your zucchini to your fritter mixture and fold everything together.
- Over medium-high heat, start heating up your cast iron skillet. Add a tbs. olive oil and tbs. of butter. Once your oil comes up to temp, drop small spoonfuls of fritter batter into your skillet. Gently spread it out to an even thickness. Be careful to not crowd your fritters. I usually only do about 2-3 at a time.
- Cook until golden brown on each side. About 2 minutes total.
- Drain each batch onto a plate with paper towels.
- For each batch of fritters, repeat the amounts of butter and olive oil to ensure proper frying. Cooking Tip: When you are cooking multiple batches of things like fritters or pancakes, it is common for the pan to get overly hot. You can usually tell by the smoke that starts to rise from the pan. Between batches, move the skillet off the burner momentarily as you add the next round of butter and oil. It may not seem like much, but taking it off the heat for a mere 10 seconds makes a world of difference when it comes to a pan overheating. Granted, when you add food to the skillet or pan, it immediately drops the temperature and that also helps keep things at an even keel.
- While you are cooking your fritters and letting the oil drain from previous batches, get a small mixing bowl out. Into it add your Mexican Crema, chives, dill and parsley. Mix together well with a small spoon.
- Serve these amazing little fritters with a dab of Mexican Crema on top as an appetizer or with the Mexican Crema on the side as part of your next brunch. No matter how you decide to serve them, you will enjoy these little dandies so much that you will wish you had made more. I promise.