Greek zucchini and feta fritters (Kolokythokeftedes)
THis is another comfort food recipe that's extremely popular in Greece, especially during the summer. Kolokythokeftedes (don't try to pronounce them; yes, we know it's impossible) literally means zucchini balls.
However, these are usually shaped in patties and aren't round like meatballs...
These zucchini patties are one of the top Greek appetizers served in the summer, along with fried eggplants, French fries, tzatziki and Horiatiki Greek salad. These patties are also a main dish, if served with some salad and tzatziki (and lots of fresh crusty bread). Even though gyros and moussaka are very popular abroad, the Greek cuisine has many many vegetarian dishes. It's a common misconception that we eat that much meat here in Greece. This may be the case for the last couple of decades mostly, when many people deviated from the traditional Greek diet.
So, this is one of the vegetarian "treats" everyone enjoys during the summer. Those feta zucchini fritters are very common in family gatherings and backyard parties and are also among the top selling dishes in taverns and restaurants. The combination of wonderful herbs (dill, parsley, mint) with feta, zucchini and eggs (especially free range eggs) is simply divine! Ask anyone who ever tried them and you'll see a gluttonous smile painted on his/her face.
The great thing about this recipe is that it's also very simple! You just grate the zucchini, drain their juices, and mix them with the rest of the ingredients to form patties. Then all you have to do is fry them. It takes about 15-20 minutes to fry them all and the result is superb!
Of course -like in many similar recipes- the simpler the recipe is, the better quality ingredients you need. So, we suggest using free range eggs, organic zucchini and a mature barrel-aged sheep (real) feta for this recipe. The result will have a far superior taste this way.
So let's see how to make those delicious Greek zucchini-feta fritters!
- 1kg / 2lb zucchini (4-5 medium sized)
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 250g / 8.8oz feta
- 15g / 0.5oz (4 tablespoons) mint, finely chopped
- 15g / 0.5oz (4 tablespoons) parsley, finely chopped
- 15g / 0.5oz (4 tablespoons) dill, finely chopped
- 100g / 3.5oz (3/4 cup) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (250ml) olive oil (for frying) *
- salt, pepper
* You can also use another vegetable oil, but olive oil is highly recommended because of its flavor
Slice off the two ends of each zucchini; discard them. Coarsely grate the zucchini, using a hand grater (preferably a classic box grater). (pic.1)
Place in a colander, add a generous amount of salt (about 1-2 teaspoons), mix well with your hands and let this drain for at least 20-25 minutes. (pic.2)
Squeeze the grated zucchini with your hands, to remove as much water as you can, and add them in a medium or large bowl. (pic.3)
Add the eggs, the parsley, the dill, the mint, pepper and the flour (pic.4). Mix with a large spoon or your hands (kneading for a few seconds).
Add the feta (pic.5), crumbled and fold it into the zucchini mix (pic.6). Be careful to avoid breaking the feta into very tiny bits, as much as you can.
Add the olive oil in a large heavy skillet and put it on medium to high heat.
Once the oil is hot, form patties with the zucchini mix and place them in the skillet. Each batch will be consisting of about 4-5 patties. Do not overcrowd the skillet. (pic.7)
Fry for 3-4 minutes per side (until golden brown) (pic.8) and place them on paper towels for a few minutes before serving them (to absorb the excess oil).
1. The batter of the zucchini mix is not very thick, so the patties will be a bit loose when you add them in the pan. Don't worry about this, they will come out just fine.
2. Only flip once during frying. After 2 minutes, lift a bit each patty (carefully) to see if this side is already done, in order to flip it.
3. Feel free to add more flour if you want a thicker mix, but in our opinion this will affect the taste and texture of the patties and should be avoided.
4. You can add more feta (up to 350g / 12oz) if you prefer more cheesy patties.
5. It's highly recommended using olive oil for frying those zucchini fritters; this will add a Mediterranean flavor to the dish. Make sure to use medium-high heat; don't allow the olive oil to become extremely hot (smoking point).