Today marks the two-year anniversary anniversary of the beginning of my partner’s dietary restrictions and of our low-sodium cooking adventures. To celebrate, I’ve returned from my unannounced and unexpectedly long hiatus with a brunch recipe for zucchini farro fritters. Not the most celebratory of dishes, I know, but it will have to do.
We’ve made this recipe a couple of times. More often than not, we top the fritters with a fried egg and serve them with bread on the side. Since it’s just the two of us and this picky eater gets sick of eating the same thing the next day, we’ve also turned the remaining patty mixture into a stir-fry. If you have yet to master the art of patty-making, I very much feel your pain (as this picture, out of which I cropped most of the messiness, may suggest), and would not discourage you from making the patty mixture into a stir-fry right away. The mixture shrinks while it’s cooking. We start out with 4-inch patties which then shrink to a size that still fits a large fried egg. We don’t use any added salt so they turn out slightly sweet. If your diet allows it, instructions for how to incorporate salt into the fritters are included in the tips section.
Low-sodium Zucchini Farro Fritters with a Fried Egg
Adapted from Megan Gordon’s Whole-Grain Mornings recipe ‘Zucchini Farro Cakes’
Makes 8 large fritters or 10 to 12 smaller ones
- 1 cup farro, rinsed
- 3 cups water, for cooking the farro
- 1 pound (450g) zucchini (3 medium-sized ones), rinsed
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 3 green onions, white and light green parts, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons/45mL)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons (45mL) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon (15mL) chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup (125g) breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) flour
- 2 tablespoons (30mL) olive oil, for frying
- 1 fried egg per serving, seasoned to taste
- Combine the rinsed farro and water into a medium-sized saucepan. Bring the farro and water to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the grains until they are tender. Check the package instructions for more specific instructions, which can vary depending on the type of farro used; mine took 30 minutes.
- Drain away any excess liquid.
Prepare fritter mixture
- Shred the zucchinis using a grater.
- Drain the shredded zucchini by squeezing it through cheesecloth or a fine-weave kitchen towel. You should end up with approximately 1 1/2 cup of dried shredded zucchini.
- In a large bowl, combine the zucchini with the eggs, green onions, garlic, parsley, thyme, breadcrumbs, and flour. Stir well and let stand for approximately 5 minutes.
- Knead the mixture with your hands a few times then start forming the patties. Large patties should be about 4-inches wide and 3/4 inch thick while smaller patties should be about 3-inches wide and 3/4 inch thick. Place the patties in a shallow dish.
- Line a large, shallow dish with paper towels in preparation for draining the cooked fritters.
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, carefully move some of the patties to the pan. (If you have a thin spatula like a fish turner, you will want to use it here.)
- Cook the patties until the bottom is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip them and cook on the other side for approximately 3 to 4 minutes.
- Place the cooked fritters onto the dish lined with paper towel to drain.
- Repeat with the remaining patties to be served, adding extra oil to the skillet if needed.
- In the meanwhile, fry an egg per person. I like them crispy so I follow Deb Perelman’s crispy egg recipe.
- Stack one or two fritters onto each plate and top with a fried egg.
- 90mg for the fried egg
- 47.50mg per large patty:
- 33.75mg from the egg, which has 90mg per egg
- 13.75mg from the breadcrumbs, which have 55mg per 1/2 cup (30g) serving
Sources of sodium
Approximate sodium intake per serving: 137.5mg to 185mg
- These values are calculated from the nutritional labels of the ingredients I used
Further reduce the sodium
- Do not top with a fried egg.
- Make your own low-sodium bread and breadcrumbs.
Increase the sodium
- The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon (5mL) kosher salt. Use half to season the zucchini right after shredding (combine the salt and zucchini and let sit for approximately 10 minutes before draining with the cheesecloth or towel). Use the other half when combining all mixture ingredients.
Use dry herbs
If you prefer to use dry herbs instead, you can reduce the volume by a third. Use 1 tablespoon (15mL) dried parsley and 1 teaspoon (5mL) dried thyme to replace the fresh herbs.
The author of the original recipe recommends replacing farro with other hearty grains like wheat berries, spelt berries, rye berries, or barley. Follow package instructions as cooking liquid amount and time may vary.
The mixture (or uncooked patties) can be prepared the night before, covered, and refrigerated. Another possibility is to cook the patties ahead and later reheat them, but I’ve found it difficult to do this without ending up with overly oily or overly crispy patties the next day.