Zucchini season means being creative if you are fortunate to have tons in your garden or as gifts from people you know who have a bumper crop. You may be enticed by a fresh looking display in your farmers market or food store. However you get your zucchini the possibilities are endless as to what you can make with them. Here’s an idea that builds on the Mediterranean tradition of mixing eggs, a starch, cheese, and a vegetable into a little fried morsel. Southern European countries are brimming with these types of fritters and really a few well made ones can be the main event at a meal. I love rice and always cook extra with something to be made the next day in mind. Something about leftover rice, it just makes for nice fritters, like Arancini (Riceballs) or these patties we will now cook. The key here is leftover rice. Results will NOT be the same if you the rice the same day you’ve cooked it. Please note that you have been warned, lol. Pulling from a lifetime of eating Southern Italian food I put together this patty one day when I had some leftover rice in the fridge. A little fresh basil, onion, and a finishing touch of Balsamic make for a really nice plate.
For approx. 14 patties Time: (using leftover rice) 1 hour
1 3/4 CUPS LEFTOVER COOKED RICE (STRESSING THE LEFTOVER PART !!)
2 MEDIUM ZUCCHINI SHREDDED, THEN BETWEEN TOWELS OR PAPER TOWELS, SQUEEZE ALL THE MOISTURE OUT OF THEM.
2 LARGE BEATEN EGGS
1 CUP BREADCRUMBS
1/4 CUP GRATED PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO CHEESE
1/4 TSP CHOPPED FRESH THYME
1 MEDIUM ONION, FINELY DICE
1 TBS. CHOPPED PARSLEY
1/2 TSP. FRESH GROUND BLACK PEPPER
SALT TO TASTE
1/4 CUP GOOD BALSAMIC VINEGAR, SLOWLY REDUCED TO LESS THAN 1/2 IT’S ORIGINAL VOLUME)
Mix all the ingredients till they all will stick together. Heat about 2 tbs. olive oil or canola oil in a pan. Make a small test patty, roll some of the mix into a walnut size ball then flatten, make sure there’s a nice sizzle when you add it to the pan. Let the patty get nicely browned on both sides, then drain on paper towels..TASTE THIS, of course after it’s cooled off. If you are happy with the seasoning form 14 equal sized patties, about 2 inches wide, no more than 1 inch thick. If it’s not seasoned enough add more salt and blend well. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and without crowding them in the pan cook them in batches over medium heat. Don’t rush this…why? You want the eggs in the mix to bind with the breadcrumbs, cheese and other ingredients to hold the patties together. Heat that’s too high will cause the outsides to burn and then leave the insides uncooked. Slower cooking also will ensure the vegetables cook nicely. When you have a nice golden brown color on one side flip them and let the other side get to the same color. Transfer to a platter and tent them with tin foil and place them in the oven just to stay warm until the entire batch is done. Arrange them on a platter over baby arugula and drizzle the balsamic over the patties. Great party or dinner platter..you can even make them smaller and serve as appetizers. Take the recipe and go with it!! And the Balsamic sauce is a winner with simply reducing it. HAPPY COOKING!! Enjoy Zucchini while it’s in season!!!