So, here’s the thing. When we first posted a recipe for baked squash fritters, we told you that there were many variations of squash fritters out there. We also told you that our parents made several versions; some fried, some baked, some with cheese, others without. And, we also mentioned that the type of squash used was going to greatly affect the outcome of what was ultimately cooked. What we didn’t really think through was the confusion which could result when sharing these recipes. What the heck do we call all these squash fritter subtypes? How to easily differentiate one squash fritter from another? We thought about starting a series of recipe entries, like Squash fritter 1, Squash fritter 2, Squash fritter 3 … (you get the picture), but decided against that boring and generic nomenclature. We are much more descriptive, so brace yourselves for a future of very wordy recipe titles.
Today’s instalment is a delicious baked squash fritter which does not contain cheese (hence the recipe title…see where we are heading 🙂 !) This is a great alternative to the first squash fritter recipe we posted, and a perfect option for those who may be lactose intolerant, dairy-haters, or anyone who may have used up all of their feta with this recipe.
The world is full of squash varieties…it’s incredible. Unfortunately, aside from some of the basic varieties, like butternut, acorn, spaghetti squash and pumpkin, the names of some of the others are unknown to us. Our parents grow all manner of winter squash in their garden, and we don’t know what most of them are called. The best we can do is tell you that the squash they used in the recipe which follows had light orange flesh, a pale green, kind of striped, outer skin, a bizarrely phallic shape…and it was huge. We think that probably, any winter squash (except for spaghetti squash – which is weird) would work here.
As you will read in the recipe, there is a significant amount of attention paid to removing any excess water from the squash. Most winter squash contain a fair amount of water. If you are planning ahead, you can always grate and then drain your squash in a colander, and then proceed with the rest of the recipe hours, or even a day, later. If you are making these at the last minute however, a little bit of muscle used to squeeze out the water, will do the trick. Just follow the steps in the recipe.
Although squash is really the star ingredient here, there is another ingredient which is key to these particular fritters; the semolina. The semolina adds a lovely crunch and bite to these fritters; a great contrast to the soft, almost velvety texture of the squash. Although you could, in a pinch, replace the semolina with flour, you shouldn’t. If you don’t have any semolina at home, go buy some! Once it’s in your pantry, you can not only make these fritters, but you can also use the semolina to make halva and galaktoboureko. So much delicious-ness!
Mia Kouppa: Baked squash fritters without cheese
- 5 cups (1250 ml) grated squash
- 1 medium sized onion, grated
- 1 teaspoon (4 ml) salt
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) plain breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) thick semolina
- extra olive oil for brushing on top of the fritters before baking
- In a large bowl, mix together the grated squash, onion and salt. Let sit for approximately 10 minutes.
- Begin to mix the grated squash and onion together by hand, using the same motions you would use if you were kneading bread. Work the ingredients together this way for about 2 – 3 minutes. You will notice that there is water being released from the mixture.
- Transfer the squash and onion mixture to another large bowl, a handful at a time. With every handful, squeeze out and discard as much liquid as you possibly can. In this bowl, add to the squeezed out squash and onion, the olive oil, eggs, breadcrumbs and semolina. Mix well.
- Allow the mixture to sit for approximately 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the vegetable mixture and shape it into a ball. Press down lightly with the back of a spoon or the back of your hand to form a thick disc. Repeat with all of the mixture.
- Brush the top of the unbaked fritters with a bit of olive oil. Place them in the middle rack of your oven and bake or 30 minutes. Turn them over carefully, and then continue to bake for another 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet. Enjoy.