Zucchini Ricotta Fritters

Zucchini Ricotta Fritters

I love when friends post interesting food ideas to my facebook wall. It's almost always something I haven't come across before, or is something I just needed a bit of a push to finally try. In this case,  a recipe for zucchini ricotta fritters was posted.  I had seen other zucchini fritter recipes, some without flour, some in the same manner as a latke, but none with ricotta cheese.  I immediately wanted to try them. Luckily, I was on my way to the market that afternoon, and picked up the things I needed.  Because the recipe is very simple, I decided to boost it abit by using homemade ricotta cheese, which has a bit more flavor and a superior texture to store-bought ricotta.  The recipe is incredibly easy.  First, pour half a gallon of milk and one cup heavy cream in a heavy saucepan, and stir in 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring to a simmer, stirring often to prevent scorching.   

It takes about 15 minutes to get it to a bare simmer. Don't stop now, stir and let it continue to heat up! 

While you are waiting, make a strainer for the cheese.  I use a wire mesh strainer over a metal bowl that will hopefully hold all the whey.  You can also use a big strainer in a bigger bowl, or even over your sink if you don't care to save the whey.  Line the strainer with cheesecloth, or a very thin floursake towel.  

Ooooh, look at that! The milk is just at a boil.  Yay!

Add in 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, and turn down the heat so the milk is just at a simmer. Stir the milk, and it will quickly start to curdle.  Leave it at a simmer for a few minutes, to extract as much cheese from the whey as possible.  

After about one minute: 

After two minutes: 

When the whey is closer to clear than milk colored, you can strain the cheese.  I usually start with a spider, and scoop the cheese into the strainer.  

But at some point, you have to tip the pot over the strainer, and cross your fingers there is enough room for the whey!

Pull up the ends of the towel, twist them together, and drape them over the draining cheese. This is just to keep the towel corners from dripping whey all over the counter.   After a while, the cheese will be firm, and ready to pull out of the strainer.  Open up the towel, get a plate ready, and flip the cheese out onto your hand, then onto the plate.  It's pretty firm at this point, and won't fall apart. If it does, put it back and let it drain more. : ) 

 

Then, you can slice the cheese. I guess you could put the ricotta in a bowl and spoon it out, but I always slice it.  And dream about putting a big fat slice on a piece of freshly toasted ciabatta bread, mmmmmmm...... 

Back to the fritters.  I grated one large zucchini into a bowl, added diced garlic, green onion, an egg, a few slices of ricotta, and then seasoned it with sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, and aleppo pepper. 

Mix to combine, then add just enough flour to bind it all together.  I could have done gluten free, but I was lazy. 

Once mixed, drop into hot oil in frittery shapes, and fry until golden brown.  These are so easy, but soooo very happy.  I served them with leftover tomato soup masquerading as a marinara sauce, and it was the perfect compliment for them.  Next time I'll make a proper marinara, because the acidity is such a great balance for the creamy ricotta.  

These are so super happy, and so easy to make. I will definitely keep this recipe on hand for parties! : ) 

Ricotta Cheese

2 quarts whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
 
Line a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.
 
Slowly bring milk, cream, and salt to a rolling boil in a 6-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add lemon juice, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.
 
Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour. After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator 2 days.
 
 

Zucchini-Ricotta Fritters 

2 medium zucchini (about 7 ounces each), coarsely shredded
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
3 large scallions, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh goat-milk ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Olive oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for serving
 
In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, garlic, scallions, ricotta, eggs, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir well, then stir in the flour just until incorporated.
 
Line a large baking sheet with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of olive oil until shimmering. Working in batches, add 2-tablespoon mounds of the zucchini batter to the hot oil, spreading them to form 3-inch fritters. Fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain the fritters on the paper towels and serve right away, with lemon wedges.

 

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