Adapted from Epicurious.com
Makes about 40 fritters, enough for about 6 people
Don’t worry (like I did) if your batter seems too thin. It should be of about the same consistency as pancake batter.
8 slices bacon
about 48 fl oz frying oil, such as vegetable or canola
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 pound small zucchini, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced
2 Tbl chopped chives
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup whole milk
basil aioli, for dipping
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat, about 2 minutes. Add the bacon and cook until the bottom sides are crispy, then flip and continue cooking until thoroughly crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Finely chop the bacon, then set aside.
Fill a medium saucepot with about 3-5 inches of frying oil (making sure to leave at least another 3-5 inches of room at the top, so that it won’t boil over when you add the fritter batter). Place over medium-high heat. Using a candy thermometer to measure the temperature, bring the oil to 350°F.
Meanwhile, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder and cayenne in a large mixing bowl. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir to combine the zucchini, jalapeño, chives, salt and pepper. Add the egg, milk and bacon to the zucchini mixture and stir to combine. Add the zucchini mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Drop small spoonfuls of the batter into the oil, working in batches of about six to eight at a time. Turn and flip the fritters occasionally, until golden brown all over, about 3-4 minutes. Continue to keep an eye on the temperature and keep adjusting the heat to maintain the 350°F. Remove the fritters with a slotted spoon and place on a bed of paper towels. Sprinkle immediately with kosher salt. Return the oil to 350°F between batches.
Serve immediately, with basil aioli for dipping.
While best fresh out of the oil, if you’d like do most of the work ahead of time, I’ve found that just a quick re-dipping in the oil crisps them up quite nicely at the very last minute.
Also, if you’d like to save any left-over batter for a day or two, you can. But make sure to stir in another 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder into the batter before frying.