It never seems to fail that when I want to cook the least, that is when I need to do it the most! And by that I mean, use up some of the abundance of summer veggies that have collected in my produce drawer. If you're anything like me, you get some vegetables and they just sit in your drawer for a while because you're not sure what you want to do with them, or you have so much from the garden that you're kind of sick of seeing them. (Even though you purposefully planted them!) Every summer we end up with a bunch of squash-- Zucchini, Crook Neck, all different sorts.
Yesterday I took the kids to meet up with some old friends of ours at the Aquarium. We had a blast and it was good to catch up with and spend time with friends that we'd met at Camp Pendleton more than 5 years ago. By the time we got home and I'd unpacked everything, gotten everyone to stop arguing (yay for car trips!), and taken care of some things around the house, I was not feeling the love in the kitchen. But I knew those squash were in that drawer. And they were calling my name. Very loudly.
Fine, you annoying Squashes. See, I'm not a huge fan of squash to begin with. Perhaps I've never had them cooked properly, or in a fancy enough way that I didn't just look at them and have my first response be, "Meh. I'm not that hungry anyway." How rude of me, right? Those poor unappreciated squash. There's something about being in the South, also, that makes me want to appreciate foods more that maybe I wasn't keen on before. It's a different culture and different horticultural area and so the locals use different foods in different ways than what I may be accustomed to.
Foods like Collard Greens and Okra, which I was totally unfamiliar with prior to living in North Carolina, are staples around here. Likewise, you will see quite a bit of squash around here! After a little bit of recipe research I decided to treat my squash like I was going to love it. I mixed a little bit of what I'm familiar with, (California Cuisine), with a little bit of what is more familiar to people here in the South, (Southern Cookin', fried foods). The result is almost as good as bacon, according to my taste testers. That's saying a lot.
Shredded squash, shallots, garlic, fresh herbs, some binders, mixed up, made into patties and browned on both sides. They are a delicious and healthy alternative to a meat patty as well. When I made them I used flour and egg as a binder. However, you could add even more protein by using chickpea flour, or even mashed beans.
This will definitely become a staple in our kitchen when it's a meatless meal day. Not only is it delicious but it's also budget friendly, as well. And it's fridge friendly because, you know, I have a ton more squash that need to be used up. Don't skip the Garlic Aoli! It's what really finishes this recipe! For the directions, see below.
Squash Fritters with Garlic Aoli
2 small yellow squash, shredded
2 small zucchini, shredded
1/4 cup of diced yellow bell pepper
1 shallot, diced (or a 1/4 c of diced red onion)
1 cup of bread crumbs
1/2 cup of flour
1/4 tsp fresh Thyme
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 cloves of minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment or a silpat.
In a bowl toss your veggies together with the garlic, bread crumbs, and Thyme. Add the dry ingredients and mix to coat the veggies. Whisk your eggs and add them to your bowl. Mix everything together until it is evenly coated and wet from the eggs.
In a skillet, on medium heat add about 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Two at a time, place 1/2 cup sized fritters of your veggie mixture to the pan. Cook them to a golden brown and then flip them to do the same on both sides. Transfer your fritters to the baking sheet. When they are all browned, transfer the sheet pan to the oven and bake them for about 12 minutes. They should be firm in the middle and not falling apart when they are done.
While your fritters are baking make your Aoli. Mix together the Mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper.
Let the fritters cool slightly. Serve with a dollop of the Garlic Aoli.
These are great paired with a glass of wine, and make for a really light and easy dinner. Enjoy!