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Dale's Summer Squash Fritters
Crispy on the outside and custardy inside, these pan-fried fritters are the creation of Dale Sharkey of Cosmic Apple Gardens, in the heart of Idaho’s Teton Valley. Served hot with peppery arugula and a juicy tomato and basil salad, they make a memorable appetizer. Draping a portion of the fritters with gravlax garnished with crÁ¨me fraÁ®che takes them over the top.
3”“5 assorted summer squash, (grated using large holes of a box grater)
2 carrots, (grated using large holes of a box grater)
½ Vidalia onion, (chopped)
1 farm-fresh egg
2 tablespoons whole milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour ((substitute rice flour for a gluten-free version))
4”“6 tomatoes, (preferably a mix of red and yellow, half chopped, half sliced crosswise into rounds)
5”“6 tablespoons olive oil, (plus more for tomato salad)
1 tablespoon Basil Oil, (plus more for serving )
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, (or more as needed)
Juice of ½ lemon
6”“9 basil leaves, (half sliced into thin ribbons, half roughly torn for garnish)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Generous handful arugula, (roughly chopped)
3 slices gravlax ((cured salmon with dill; omit for vegetarian version))
3 dollops crÁ¨me fraÁ®che ((optional))
Spread out squash, carrots, and onions in the center of a clean kitchen towel. Sprinkle with salt and mix with your hands to combine. (Salt draws out liquid from the vegetables.) Wrap up towel around the vegetables and twist the top to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
In a large bowl, whisk together egg, milk, flour, chopped garlic, and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Use a spoon to fold in the drained vegetables and about 2 tablespoons oil. Let rest for 5”“15 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Preheat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. In a medium bowl, mix together chopped tomatoes, a touch of olive oil, basil oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, sliced garlic, basil ribbons, and salt and pepper to taste.
Add remaining 3”“4 tablespoons oil and butter to hot pan and wait for bubbles to subside. Spoon 2”“3 tablespoon scoops of fritter batter into pan. Fry until golden brown on both sides, 3”“4 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
Make a bed of arugula in the center of a serving plate. Circle the greens with a ring of sliced tomatoes. Drizzle with additional basil oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange hot fritters on top. Dress three fritters with gravlax and dollops of crÁ¨me fraÁ®che, if desired. Finish with tomato salad and hand-torn basil leaves. Serve immediately.