The kitchen is one place where diversity and richness of culture can be explored in any family’s house. From American southern staples like red beans and rice to noveau fusion twists on a hearty Italian caponata, in any given week one can serve the “United Nations” of food, and have fun doing it. In our house, a combined family heritage stakes claim to eight countries spanning three continents, so multi-cultural cuisine abounds.
My husband is Turkish, and I have willingly embraced his favorite vibrant and healthy Mediterranean cuisine. I can proudly say I have an arsenal of traditional recipes mastered while also experimenting with my own take on the various Turkish flavor profiles. Mucver, delicious Turkish-style zucchini fritters, are one of my husband’s favorite dishes. While I have had it countless times, I was always terrified to make it, in large part due to the fact that my mother-in-law was the master of zucchini fritters. Finally, after our family’s summer excursion to Turkey last year where our then 18-month-old daughter ate her weight in zucchini fritters, I came home with the determination to give it a go.
Zucchini fritters are the perfect vehicle to “hide” those nasty, yet necessary vegetables from even the most clever of kids; you know – the kind who have an aversion to anything green. It is also the perfect meal to throw in your backpack when you’re headed out on an adventure big or small. The best part is that taste gets better with age, so you can make a large batch and devour them cold for days after. It’s a win-win-win. Brimming with minerals, vitamins and nutrients, zucchini fritters are a kid-friendly snack or side dish that any parent would be proud to dish seconds.
Zucchini Fritters (Mucver)
- 5 Small Zucchinis grated
- 4 Green Onions chopped (whites & greens)
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped Dill
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped flat leaf Parsley
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped Mint
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cup of Feta Cheese (this is not traditional and by no means mandatory, but I love it!)
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups of All Purpose Flour
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for frying)
- Wash and pat dry zucchini, and then grate over a fine colander.
- Next, “sweat” grated zucchini by salting it and leaving it to rest in the colander for at least 30 minutes. This will draw out all of the excess water from the zucchini.
- Clean and chop four green onions, including green tops.
- Finely chop one third cup each of fresh dill, flat leaf parsley, and mint.
- When zucchini has been adequately dehydrated, place grated zucchini, green onions, dill, parsley, mint, eggs, feta cheese, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl and stir.
- Slowly add flour to the mixture, one quarter cup at a time, making sure to fully combine all ingredients before adding more flour.
- Once flour is incorporated, pour a half- inch of extra-virgin olive oil into a frying pan and heat slowly over a medium fire.
- To test heat of the oil, simply place a drop of the mixture into the oil. If it begins to sizzle, it’s time.
- With a teaspoon, scoop and carefully place silver dollar-sized dollops of the mixture into hot oil. Flatten out each fritter quickly; making sure it is approximately a quarter of an inch in thickness.
- Do not allow fritters to touch while cooking unless you want one big record-breaking mucver.
- Keep the olive oil on medium heat, adjusting the fire accordingly to ensure the oil does not get too hot. Fritters should cook to a medium brown on each side; approximately 3 minutes to ensure the inside is cooked throughout.
- As they are done, transfer one by one from the frying pan onto a plate covered with paper towels, so excess oil can be absorbed.
Jennifer Fontaine is the founder of Outdoor Families Magazine, publisher of MommyHiker.com, a blog to encourage outdoor activities with children, and an activist filmmaker inspiring dynamic change in the world. She lives in Southern California with her family.