Updated: 08/02/2012 3:18 PM
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Garden Veggie Side Dishes
It is certainly the season for all those fresh summer veggies from the garden. They don’t just belong in your salads though. Owner of Kafé 421, Antigoni Sander McCloud, shows us some side dishes with a Greek twist.
Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki Sauce
Preparation Time: 2 ½ Hours Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
2 ¼ Pounds Zucchini
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Small White Onion; Grated - ¼ Cup
¾ Cup All-Purpose Flour; plus extra for coating
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 Cup Grated Pecorino or Parmesan Cheese
½ Cup Feta Crumbles
½ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
3 Eggs Lightly Beaten
1/3 Cup finely chopped mint, loosely packed
¼ Tsp Salt + A Couple Turns of Black Pepper
1 Cup Vegetable Oil, for frying
Grate zucchini in food processor. This will yield about 6 cups of grated zucchini. Put zucchini shreds in a colander and sprinkle with a half a teaspoon of salt and let the zucchini drain for about an hour. After an hour squeeze all of the liquid out of the zucchini and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet. When the oil begins to glisten add the grated onion and cook over low heat for about 3 – 5 minutes. Onion will become soft and translucent. Add the grated zucchini, both cheeses, bread crumbs, eggs and mint in to a large bowl. Sift
together the flour and baking powder and add to the zucchini mixture, followed by salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all together, if it feels too soft add a little more bread crumb. Cover and chill mixture for an hour.
Fill a heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven with about 1” of Vegetable Oil, heat the oil at medium high heat for about 3 to 4 minutes. Now begin to fry.
Form the mixture into palm sized patties, toss gently in the flour left for coating, and fry in batches, taking care to not crowd the pan. Fry for about 5 minutes, flipping the patties occassionally until they are lightly golden on both sides. Keep an eye on the cooking oil, if the patties are looking too dark too quickly adjust the temperature down a bit. When the fritters are done, drain them on paper towel lined plate. Place the drained fritter on a baking sheet and keep them warm in a 250°F oven. You will do this with each batch of fritters until they are all fried. When the fritters have all been fried remove them from the oven and plate them on a large sharing platter, serve with Tzatziki Sauce (recipe below) or a lemon aioli.
*Note – This mixture can be made several days in advance. It can also be made into a large patty so you could make a zucchini “burger” out of it.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
2 ½ Cups Greek Style Plain Yogurt
1 Long, thin cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
3 – 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
¼ Tsp. Salt
3 – 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Finely Chopped Fresh Dill
In a large bowl put yogurt, cucumber, dill, garlic, salt and olive oil. Stir well. Cover and
refrigerate until ready to serve. This is best if made at least an hour in advance, allowing the flavors to marry.
Eggplant Caprese Salad
Serves 2 As A Main Dish – Serves 4 As A Starter
1 Medium Sized Eggplant, peeled and sliced into about 12 – ¼” Thick Rounds
3 Eggs Beaten
1 Cup AP Flour + ¼ Tsp Salt + A Couple Turns of Black Pepper
2 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs + ¼ Tsp Salt + A Couple Turns of Black Pepper
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan
3 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Dried Parsley
3 tsp Dried Basil
Salt For Finsihing
3-4 Tomatoes, Sliced into 12 – ¼” Round Slices
3 - 4 Balls of Fresh Mozzarella, Sliced into 12 – ¼” Round Slices
Aged Balsamic or Balsamic Glaze
1 Cup Vegetable Oil For Frying
Peel Eggplant with a vegetable peeler and slice into rounds.
Set up breading station – You will need three shallow dishes that you can dip in
Station 1: Into your dish combine AP Flour, Salt and Black Pepper
Station 2: 3 Beaten Eggs
Station 3: Bread Crumbs, Salt, Pepper, Parmesan, Garlic Powder, Dried Parsley, Dried Basil
Begin dipping your rounds. First in the flour, knocking off any excess. Second in the eggwash. Allowing the excess to drip back into the dish. Third in the crumb mixture. I achieve the best results here by resting the rounds in the crumbs and then sprinkle a handful on top of them. Then I press the crumbs onto the eggplant with the palm of my hand. This makes the crumbs adhere better.
Fill a heavy bottomed skillet or dutch oven with about 1” of Vegetable Oil and heat it for about 3 to 4 minutes over medium high heat. Now begin to fry the eggplant.
Taking care to not crowd the pan, fry the eggplant for about 3 minutes per side, flipping the eggplant occasionally so that they have a nice even light brown color on both sides. Keep on eye on the cooking oil if the patties are looking too dark too quickly adjust the temperature down a bit. When the eggplant are fried to perfection, drain them on paper towel lined plate and sprinkle each round with a bit of salt. At this point they are ready to be served, if you are frying in batches you will want to place the finished eggplant rounds on a baking sheet so that you can keep them warm in a 250°F oven until all of the eggplant is done.
While you are frying the eggplant prepare the other components of your salad. Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella, wash and dry the basil. When all of the eggplant has been fried begin assembly of the dish.
Lay 1 Eggplant Round on a plate followed by 1 Slice of Tomato, 1 Fresh Basil Leaf, 1 Slice of Mozzarella and 1 More Fresh Basil Leaf. Repeat this as many times as you like if you are making a large platter to be shared. Otherwise make individual servings following the above assembly format. Give everything one last gentle sprinkle with salt and then drizzle aged balsamic or balsamic glaze over the whole dish. If you wish wish to finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil as well that would be delicious!
*Notes: you can prepare you coated eggplant patties a day in advance, but don’t fry them until just before you are ready to eat.
Greek Green Beans
Serves 6 – 8 People
2 Pounds Green Beans, washed and trimmed
¾ Cup Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, Grated
3 Cloves of Garlic, Grated
3 Large Tomatoes, Grated
¼ Cup Water
1 Tsp. Salt, plus more to taste
½ Tsp Black Pepper, plus more to taste
¼ Cup Fresh Dill, Chopped
Heat Olive Oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions to the glistening oil and sautee until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Working directly into the pot, grate garlic into the sautéing onions. Stir together for about 1 minute.
Add the beans, top them with the grated tomato, water, 1 tsp salt ad ½ teaspoon black pepper. Give them one quick stir to combine all the flavors, then cover with a tight fitting lid, turn heat down to low and stew them for about 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes uncover the pot and give the beans a good stir. They should be really soft, this is not a crisp version of green beans. If they are nice and soft, leave the pot uncovered, stir in the fresh dill and then turn the heat up a bit so you can reduce some of the liquid down, this will give it is more of a soup consistency rather than a watery consistency.
After it has reduced down taste it. At this point add more salt and pepper based on your taste buds. You can serve this dish right away, or you can serve it at room temperature several hours later, or even the next day! It gets better and better the longer it sits, and make sure you eat it the “greek way” by dipping bread into the tomato-y olive liquid from the pot, You will be so so happy!