The farmers’ market family cookbook, 256pp.
by Murdoch Books Test Kitchen
Murdoch Books, Millers Point NSW, Australia, 2012
Cooking on page 32
An invitation to your house for a cup of tea or coffee is also an unwitting invitation to let me rummaged through the cookbooks on your kitchen shelves. And that’s what happened the other day when I visited friend and neighbour, Barb.
In addition to loving the lemon verbena tea she whipped up, I volunteered to borrow this cookbook for its recipe on page 32.
Zucchinis are just starting to come in and this will be useful when I have a glut.
Cucumber and yoghurt salad
1 Lebanese (short) cucumber
sea salt for sprinkling
250g (9 oz/1 cup) Greek-style yoghurt
1 small garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped dill
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
ground white pepper, to taste
300 g (10 oz) zucchini (courgettes), grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons self-raising flour
4 tablespoons grated kefalotyri or parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped mint
2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
a pinch of ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
olive oil, for pan-frying
rocket (arugula) leaves, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve (optional)
To make the cucumber and yoghurt salad, chop the cucumber into small pieces, place in a colander, sprinkle with sea salt and set aside in the sink or on a plate to drain for 15–20 minutes.
In a bowl, mix together the yoghurt, garlic, dill and vinegar. Add the cucumber and season to taste with sea salt and ground white pepper. Cover and refrigerate until required.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 120°C (235°F/Gas 1/2). Put the zucchini and onion in a clean tea towel (dish towel), gather the corners together and twisr as tightly as possible to remove all the juices. Tip the zucchini and onion into a large bowl, then add the flour, cheese, mint, parsley, nutmeg, breadcrumbs and egg. Season well with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, then mix with your hands to a stiff batter.
Heat 1 cm (1/2 inch) olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, drop 2 tablespoons of the batter into the pan and press flat to make a thick patty. Fry several at a time for 2–3 minutes, or until well browned all over. Drain well on paper towels and place in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining patties.
Serve hot with rocket leaves, the cucumber and yoghurt salad and lemon wedges, if desired.
How it played out
As instructed, I made the cucumber and yoghurt salad first. It came to together easily, and I popped it in the fridge until it was needed.
I tackled the zucchini and onion next, using a smallish red onion and two-and-a-half medium zucchinis. Then I whipped out the tea towel to squeeze out the excess juices. I nearly skipped this step. Is this really necessary? But I had time and decided I really should do it.
I’m glad I did because you wouldn’t believe how much liquid came out. I was really, really surprised. And I’m sure the mixture came together better because of it.
The rest was easy. I used parmesan that was on hand, mint and parsley from the garden, and breadcrumbs from part of a homemade loaf that I buzzed in the food processor.
The patties fried beautifully. I got seven and probably should have got eight, but that was fine because we were only three for dinner (so one leftover for tomorrow). But you could easily make the patties smaller or larger to suit your use of them.
Served with asparagus and homemade barbecued spareribs (go ahead and beg for my mum’s recipe). Completely forgot to serve on a bed of rocket (arugula) or add lemon wedges, even though both grow in my backyard. They’d be great additions and I’ll try not to forget them in future.
Delicious little patties that make a great snack, side dish or even a starter.
I had to buy zucchini to make this recipe, but as summer progresses I shouldn’t need to again. This will be a great way to use up the bounty. I might even grate it, squeeze it and freeze it for use later.
Let me know if you try these tasty morsels.