Who does not like potato croquettes? Even those who claim to hate them are in denial. (?!) Seriously, I always thought that potatoes served as appetizer are generally crowd-pleasers. This dish, Potato and Zucchini Bites, is slightly a notch higher when it comes to vegetable content and taste. It uses an equal amount of potato and zucchini, and some parmigiano-reggiano, as well as fresh herbs are also added in the mix.
I have tried replacing parmigiano with other kinds of hard cheese, and they turned out great as well. However, if you want to use a softer kind of cheese, you must adjust the quantity of breadcrumbs – make sure that the mixture is not too watery. Also, if your cheese is not too salty, adjust the amount of salt that you add in the mixture to balance it.
You can also bake this if you prefer. Setting the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F) for 35 to 40 minutes will do. But personally, I prefer to fry them. I make sure that the oil is extremely HOT, so they cook and brown in a flash. Then I place them in paper towels for at least five minutes before serving them.
As for the sauce… Of course, there is a sauce! 🙂 I ALWAYS serve Quick & Simple Marinara Sauce with potato and zucchini bites. Just a no-fuss marinara sauce, no need to simmer anything for hours. I have not seen anyone say ‘NO’ to this dish. Not even kids. That should be enough validation, right? 😀
- 250 to 275 grams potatoes, starchy
- 250 to 275 grams zucchini
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 lemon, grated zest
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano, grated
- 1 tsp salt
- vegetable oil, for frying
Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters (if you are using large potatoes), otherwise, cut them into halves. Put in a medium pot with enough cold water to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat and simmer until the potatoes become soft. This normally takes 12 to 15 minutes for me.
Pour the water from the pot and bring it back to low flame. Let sit this for a couple of minutes, just enough for additional moisture to evaporate from the potatoes. Take the potatoes off the heat and mash them with a potato ricer or with a fork. Set aside.
Peel and grate the zucchini.
Wrap all the grated zucchini with a clean kitchen cloth and wring the cloth to squeeze all the water out. A couple of twists should be enough. I normally do this in a couple of batches, but if you can manage it in one, go ahead! 🙂
In a large bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, grated zucchini, egg, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, parmigiano, parsley, green onions and salt. Mix thoroughly. I normally just use my hands to do this.
Once combined, start forming balls with the mixture. I normally use a medium-sized ice cream scoop for this - easier and faster.
Heat a medium sized pan with enough vegetable oil to slightly cover the potato and zucchini bites. Turn the heat into medium-high. Once oil is ready (i.e. extremely HOT), drop the bites slowly. They will cook and turn brown quickly.
Once the bites turned brown, take them out of the pan and place in paper towels. Leave for at least five minutes, to soak up some oil.
Serve with marinara sauce.
- See my other post Quick & Simple Marinara Sauce to prepare the sauce.