This afternoon at about 5:45, I called my husband at work. It was the usual: how are things going, when are you headed home, and then — in simulcast — what do you want to do for dinner? My answer: Jinx, you owe me a Coke! His answer: Should we do something with all those veggies in the fridge?
You mean, besides just letting them decorate the crisper drawer? Like, yeah, I guesso.
So that’s what I did. On the drive home, I mentally inventoried our booty of garden fare and tried to think of a way to cram as much veg as possible into a dish that was slightly more exciting than a wok full of stir-fry. My first thought was a savory zucchini bread, inspired by this griddled gem that has been taunting me ever since I saw it on Food Gal a few days ago. But I wanted to challenge myself to use not just a scant cup or so of zucchini but ALL my zucchini, in one dish that would be consumed in one sitting — without becoming a squash version of Violet Beauregarde in the process.
Waffle maker to the rescue. I don’t know if all y’all follow Pinterest at all, but if you’re short on ideas for how to put a Costco brick of cheddar, a stack of Oreos or a waffle iron to use, check it out. It’s the Mother Lode. Ironically, it’s also the place to go if you want to look at pictures of women with eight-packs and perky rears encouraging you to “run for your dreams, not from your dreams” or “trim these three foods from your diet to shrink belly fat!” (Which three were those, again? Oh, Cheese, Oreos and Waffles? Oh, okay, cool.)
ANYWAY. Waffle irons are kind of making a comeback, and it was the first thing that came to mind when I began brainstorming a meal with a high veg-to-stuff ratio. And that’s why I let myself call these babies fritters and not waffles: because zucchini waffles makes you think waffles with zucchini, but zucchini fritters makes you think frittered zucchini, and that is a much more apt description — albeit these are more healthful, and a whole lot easier, than a fritter suggests. It just doesn’t get much simpler, or much more delicious. Zucchini. Cheese. A couple of eggs, some flour and a heap of savory spices to bring it all home. PLUS a topping of can’t-go-wrong Swiss chard and everyone’s favorite: a softly poached egg full of golden, oozing yolk?
This is veggielicious, kid-friendly money intha bank, my friends. And it’ll put that drawer full of late-harvest summer squash out of its misery, I promise.
Zucchini “Fritters” with Chard and Poached Eggs
By Emily Stoffel
Cooking time: 25 minutes | Serves: 2
Note: I won’t pretend that I’m an expert on poaching eggs. In fact, I’m something of a horrible egg poacher, so I’ll leave the instructions to someone who knows what they’re doing and will instead provide the recipe for the more interesting stuff: the fritter!
- 4 cups shredded zucchini (that’s about 3 whole zucchini, oh-hey!)
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 T olive oil + extra for sauteing the chard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 T chili powder
- 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 bunch chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 eggs, poached just before serving (see note)
Preheat waffle iron. In large bowl, mix together zucchini, eggs, flour, olive oil, all spices and cheese. Stir thoroughly to combine and let sit for 5 minutes (in this time, the salt will draw liquid out of zucchini to thin the batter some). Batter should be thicker than pancake batter but not doughy. Mound 1/3 of the mixture onto waffle iron, using a spoon to spread it to within about 1″ of edges. Close iron and cook on high setting or about 5-6 minutes, until cheese is browned and crisped, zucchini is tender and batter is set. (How do you know this, you ask? Eat a little piece! Careful as it’s likely hot as a mother hen.) Repeat twice more or until all batter is used. If necessary, keep fritters warm in a low oven.
Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add swiss chard and salt and pepper to taste and saute until chard is wilted and bright green, about 2-3 minutes.
Pile chard atop hot fritters and top with an egg poached to your liking. I like mine with a drippy, liquidy yolk and plenty of salt and pepper.