Today, I'm sharing a recipe that we enjoyed as an appetizer at our last gourmet gathering at the very end of October. The recipe wasn't assigned to us but I finally got around to making them myself just before Thanksgiving. Although this is a wonderful fall harvest recipe, the ingredients are available at most stores year round. Fresh herbs have been also increasingly available and, at my store, I can buy fresh, living basil in the winter when it's most appreciated.
The stewed grape tomatoes in this recipe are actually cherry tomatoes from my garden. I had quite a few tomatoes that I harvested from my prolific Tumbling Tom cherry tomato plant before the first frost that I froze for recipes just like this.
Tip: My favorite way to remove excess moisture from grated and shredded zucchini is squeezing it with a potato ricer! You'd be amazed at how much moisture this removes to obtain wonderfully crispy fritters - whether with zucchini or potatoes!
Zucchini Fritters with Fresh Mozzarella and Stewed Grape Tomatoes(A recipe created by our gourmet group hosts based on several zucchini fritter recipes.)
1 pound (about 2 medium sized) zucchini, coarsely grated
5 scallions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Ground black pepper
Vegetable or olive oil for frying
Fresh mozzarella (preferably buffalo), and
Fresh basil for garnish
Stewed Cherry Tomatoes
2 pint cherry (or grape) tomatoes, rinsed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Additional Italian seasonings of your choice - I used the Ariosto seasoning for tomato-based sauces which contains salt, so I deleted any additional salt. Dried oregano and basil would also taste good.
To prepare the zucchini fritters, mix the first 10 ingredients together in a large bowl until blended.
Heat oil in a very large skillet over medium heat and cook fritters in two batches. Drop 2 tablespoons of batter into mounds in the skillet. Do not crowd. Flatten slightly. Cook until browned, for 4 to 6 minutes on each side, turning over once. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining batter.
To prepare the stewed grape tomatoes, place olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking and continuously stirring tomatoes until the skins begin to break open (approximately 8 to 10 minutes). Add the sugar and vinegar and continue cooking for approximately 5 more minutes. Note: I found this process took longer than stated to thicken the tomatoes.
To assemble, place zucchini fritter on an appetizer plate and top with one slice of fresh buffalo mozzarella, 1 tablespoon of stewed grape tomatoes and fresh basil.