Friday, August 3, 2012

Zucchini Keftedes with Feta and Dill

The inspiration for these keftedes (Greek zucchini pancakes) came from a meal I ate at the office recently.  My office has been insanely busy of late and last week we made a few massive delivery orders for everyone on our floor.  I think there were like 10-12 of us here each night.  One night we ordered Chinese and the next night we ordered Greek.  As part of our Greek food fest (we ordered just about the entire menu - it was insane), we ordered two batches of keftedes and they were amazing.  So I wanted to see if we could make equally delicious keftedes at home.  Unfortunately, the delivery keftedes were better than ours - with a crispier texture and a more flavorful interior (and sauce).  The texture was so crispy that it makes me wonder if they deep fried theirs...  The feta that we used didn't have as much salty bite as I thought it would so that led to the keftedes themselves being a little underseasoned.  You could still taste all of the fresh herbs, but the flavors just came off a little muted.  I guess I should have tasted the feta before deciding that it would be salty enough to forgo adding any salt to the zucchini mixture...  Oops.  I actually threw a tiny pinch in (even though the recipe didn't call for it) but I wish I had thrown in at least a 1/2 tsp.  Another thing I wish I had done is make a sauce out of the Greek yogurt, rather than just serving the keftedes with dollops of plain Greek yogurt and a sprig of dill.  Alex and I actually discussed grating in a little garlic and maybe a pinch of lemon zest, but we decided it wasn't necessary.  Maybe next time?

Recipe after the jump!

Zucchini Keftedes with Feta and Dill
April 2011


1 1/3 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup panko 
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
Canola oil (for frying - we had to use grapeseed oil because we were out of canola)
Plain whole-milk or reduced-fat Greek-style yogurt (for garnish)
Additional chopped fresh dill (for garnish)

Grate zucchini on large holes of box grater onto clean kitchen towel. Sprinkle zucchini with 1 teaspoon coarse salt; let stand at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil. Wrap zucchini in towel; squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place zucchini in medium bowl. Mix in green onions, 3 tbsp dill, mint, garlic, lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Gently stir in panko and egg, then feta. Using 2 tablespoons zucchini mixture for each, shape mixture into 1 3/4- to 2-inch-diameter patty; place on baking sheet. Chill at least 1 hour.

Pour enough canola oil (we used grapeseed oil) into heavy large skillet (we used our cast iron) to reach depth of 1/4 inch and heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add patties to skillet. Cook until golden and cooked through, adjusting heat if browning too quickly, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Using slotted metal spoon or spatula, transfer to a dish lined with paper towels.
Arrange keftedes on platter. Top each with dollop of yogurt. Sprinkle each with dill. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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