These fritters gain lots of inspiration – from the classic Kolokithokeftedes (zucchini fritters) in Greek cookery to Santorini and Canadian food personality/chef Michael Smith.
These are very much like the classic zucchini fritter but method of binding the fritter is different here. A successful zucchini fritter depends greatly on how much excess water you squeeze out of them. Failure to do so can cause your fritters to fall apart as the excess water bursts in hot oil when frying or you’ve added so much flour and bread crumbs that you now have zucchini pucks. This recipe solves this problem.
Enter Michael Smith, Chef and host of many a’ cooking show here in Canada and the current spokesperson for Lentils Canada. Did you know Canada is the #1 producer of lentils? Saskatchewan’s Prairie fields to be precise and yes, we produce green, brown, Puy style, beluga and today’s lentil – the red lentil.
I was invited to meet Michael Smith at Cirillo’s Culinary Academy, where he presented some dishes from around the world – all using lentils! I immediately took to the red lentil fritter with its origins in Dubai. I loved how like they were, so flavorful and very light.
Today’s recipe is inspired by the method of using soaked red lentils as a batter. Finally, the shrimp in this fritter – inspired by a an appetizer I ate last year while dining at Selene restaurant in the town of Pyrgos. I loved the hybrid fritter of zucchini and shrimp and today, I am sharing my own version of a shrimp and zucchini fritter – with a little help from red lentils!
Zucchini Lentil Fritters With Shrimp
(makes 25-30 bite-sized fritters)
1 cup of red lentils
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 lb. of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2-3 medium zucchinis, ends trimmed
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 tsp. baking powder
salt and pepper to taste
sunflower oil for frying
- Place your lentils in medium sized bowl and fill with 2 1/2 cups tepid water and allow 1 hour to soften. Take your zucchinis and pass through a box grater and sprinkle with salt, reserve.
- After rinsing and patting your shrimp dry with paper towel, divide into two portions – leave one portion whole and the other chop into pieces, reserve.
- After an hour, strain your lentils and place in a food processor with the garlic and scallions and process until smooth. Empty into a large bowl.
- Now add the portion of whole shrimp into the food processor and puree until smooth. Scrape out of the food processor and empty into the bowl with the red lentil batter. You should have a smooth, slightly wet batter.
- Now hand squeeze the the excess liquid from your grated zucchini and add to the batter. Add remaining (chopped) shrimp, the herbs, baking powder and mix well with a spatula. Fry off small piece to taste then adjust with salt, pepper or any preferred accents with the herbs.
- Add about 2 inches of sunflower oil into a deep pot or deep fryer and bring up to 365F. Take a teaspoon and scoop out some batter and drop into oil or roll it up in your hand then drop in the oil. Fry in batches for about 2 minutes or until golden and reserve on paper-lined paper towel.
- Serve warm with Tzatziki or Hummus and serve with Hinterland Whitecap.
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