Inside A Cooking Class: Zucchini Fritters

The students roll into the classroom excited to cook the day’s recipe.

The Chef has prepped the star vegetable of the day: Zucchini.

The previous sentence had one lie in it, and he will share that bit of trivia with the kids, but first there is work to do.

He takes the zucchini and grates them all of them to prepare the batter for the Zucchini Fritters.  

The students wash their hands and get ready to cook.  First, the day starts reviewing the 5 Rules of Culinary Classroom.  Two students are also awarded “Chef of the Day,” an honor in which they get to extra bites of the food and larger portions to take home.  They earned this special ranking because they were exceptionally helpful the week before.

The 7 zucchinis, when grated, form a small mass as they sit in the colander.  The Chef challenges each kid to use their hands and paper towels to squeeze as much water as they can from the zucchini so that they will get crispy when cooked.  Each kid partakes in this part of the recipe, with the older kids squeezing a considerable amount of water.

Next each kid helps contribute to make the batter by adding flour, eggs, salt, pepper, garlic and Parmesan cheese.  They take turns mixing up the batter as the Chef preheats the electric skillet.

With a loud “sizzle” the first few fritters land in the skillet and immediately the room smells amazing.   A few kids help clean some bowls as the others gather around for the learning portion of the day.

The chef explains that “fritter” comes from the Latin word “to fry.”  You can fry almost anything, but today’s dish features Zucchini, which is loaded with Vitamin A (helps your eyes), Vitamin C (helps your immune system), Dietary Fiber (good for your digestive system) and much more.  The kids absorb the facts by repeating them out loud.

Some of the older kids come to the skillet and help the Chef carefully flip the fritters.

Next up the Chef talks about how the zucchini is a popular vegetable in Hawaii, where it thrives in the warm, tropical climates.  The Chef turns to the students and asks them, “Raise of hands, is zucchini a fruit or vegetable?”  Baffled, the kids think it’s a vegetable…except for one lone child.

“It’s a fruit!” The Chef exclaims, as he discusses how the zucchini has seeds and grows from the bulbous part of the plant.  Therefore, it is a fruit.  Our society considers it a “vegetable” because it has a lower sugar content than other true “fruits” like strawberries or bananas.

As the fritters move from the skillet to a paper towel.  The Chef sprinkles them with a pinch of salt, to bring out their flavor.  He chops them in half and the kids help serve their delicious snack with a scoop of sour cream.  After the first bite, the kids are amazed how zucchinis can taste so good!  They have a wonderfully crispy outside that perfectly compliments the tangy sour cream.

The Chef continues cooking 2 more batches of zucchini fritters and serves the kids.  They help with the cleanup to earn their “second” portion.  On the way out the door, the students meet their parents and excitedly share their fritters.  One says, “Mom, you gotta know one thing.  It’s a FRUIT, not a vegetable.”

Read More: Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Fritters (video)

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