Last year I was in charge of organizing restaurant week outings for my MD/PhD class.

Although maybe I was not in charge, as that implies some kind of appointed authority.

Maybe I took charge after we flailed around aimlessly all summer and talked about restaurant week (which in NYC actually became restaurant month after the powers that be realized how much money they had made in a week.  Shockingly, when you offer a one hundred dollar meal for thirty bucks, you actually turn more of a profit than you would otherwise.  And while there may be some long term lesson to be had from this.  Something having to do with lowering prices.  Permanently.  The powers that be do not take advice from lowly food bloggers.  Unfortunately.  And so here we are again.) until the very last second.  When finding a reservation for fourteen was actually impossible.

That’s really neither here nor there, though.


As the restaurant week officiator.  I had a very strict protocol for choosing which restaurants we would grace with our presence.

There were lists involved.  Tables.  Charts.  Flash cards.  I used multi-colored highlighters.  And a large white board.

I almost felt like a real med student.

Except for the fact that in order to do this, I took a week off from my summer lab rotation.  Real med students don’t do things like that.

Phew.  That’s a relief.


In the first elimination round, restaurants were judge based on their dessert menus.

No creme brulee or tiramisu?  Instant death.

Powers that be.  Take note.  No one wants to be served a slice of angel food cake with whipped cream during restaurant week.  No one wants sorbet either.  Go big.  Or go home.


Next up. Side dishes.

Because honestly, yeah, the Chatham Cod with its drizzle of sea salt sounds awesome.  But it’s not going to have me headed for a cold shower.  The tian of summer vegetable confit and crispy polenta, on the other hand.  Makes me squirm with unbridled passion.

What can I say.  Side dishes are where.  It’s.  At.

However.  That was then.  This is now.

And now.  I am cooking my way through Michael Symon’s Live To Cook, with the next recipe on our agenda being his zucchini fritters with feta and dill.

A side dish.  Can’t you just feel the sexual tension?  It’s palpable.

And so I thought.  The only thing better than one side dish.  Is two side dishes.  Which is where the eggplant couscous salad from Bon Appetit came in.

Cold shower.  Here I come.


Couscous  with “Roasted” Eggplant and Cinnamon-Cumin Dressing
Serves 4, adapted from Bon Appetit’s July 2010 Issue

1 1/2 lb eggplant, cut into cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup golden raisins

1. If your oven works, preheat it to 450.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Place eggplant cubes on the sheet, spray again.  Drizzle with salt and pepper.  Toss to coat and roast, turning occasionally, about 40 minutes.

2. If your oven does NOT work (isn’t this fun, it’s like a choose-your-own-adventure story).  Heat a non-stick pan.  Spray with nonstick spray.  Saute the eggplant cubes until soft, sprinkling with salt initially.

3. Cook couscous in boiling salted water according to package instructions.  Place in large bowl.

4. Whisk together vinegar, cinnamon, cumin, and 2 tbsp oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix in onion.  Add raisins, eggplant cubes, and dressing to couscous.  Toss to coat.

Zucchini Fritters with Feta and Dill
Serves 4, adapted from Symon’s Live To Cook

2 medium zucchini
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 large scallion, white and green parts, thinly sliced on the bias
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled (I used the Trader Joe’s Mediterranean herb crumbles)
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg
3 tbsp AP flour

1. Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a grater onto a clean kitchen towel.  (I used 3 paper towels.)  Sprinkle with the kosher salt and let it rest while you gather and prep the remaining ingredients.  Run to the store.  Buy mint and dill.  Because sometimes when you go shopping for the week, you forget key ingredients.  It happens.

2. Wrap the zucchini in about 6 more paper towels and wring as much liquid out as possible (over the sink people!).  In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, mint, scallion, garlic, pepper, feta, and lemon zest.  Stir in the egg and flour and mix until well combined.

3.  Either fry in canola oil.  Or fry with non-stick cooking spray.  Guess what I did.  Cook until the fritters are golden brown on each side, 4 to 6 minutes total.

4. Transfer to a plate and serve either with a dollop of Greek yogurt or the couscous salad featured above.

These are my submissions to Symon Sundays, Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted by Janet of the taste space, Two For Tuesdays, and Reeni’s Side Dish Showdown!


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at https://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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106 Responses to Zucchini Fritters with Feta and Dill and Eggplant Couscous Salad with Cinnamon-Cumin Dressing

  1. Now look at that fritter..love the color. Makes me want to grab it right away! Very appetizing with the couscous salad!Yum!

  2. MaryMoh says:

    I love zucchini fritters. Love how you make a sandwich out of it with couscous…creative & brilliant!

  3. Simply Life says:

    ha, you are too funny! Great recipe – and thanks for the reminder that I really need to take advantage of restaurant week!

  4. Biren says:

    I have seen a few zucchini fritters lately and yours look really good. This will make a really nice lunch.

  5. Sanem says:

    I love all these ingredients! Delicious combination of couscous and aubergines. Great photos!

  6. What a fantastic vegetarian meal! All those flavors must work wonderfully together. I go back and forth with my feelings about feta… it depends on how it’s used… and the combination in this recipe sounds perfect!

  7. Is it wrong that I want one of these fritters for breakfast?!? I’m totally intrigued by the addition of dill. The last batch of dill I got died a slow death before I could do anything with it. Must buy more dill soon!

  8. polwig says:

    It seems like your restaurant outting was as complicated as planning a wedding. At least now you know what you will be facing when Micheal pops the question ;)… I love those Zucchini Fritters, need to make soon.

  9. Yosha says:

    Restaurent week (month!) I loved in San Diego but yes I had similar organizational problems. Everyone agreed it was a good idea and well…there it rested. Must find out if Ottawa has such…

    Anyway I saw the tittle and thought, you of all people deep fried something? Really?! But I should have known better! I can’t wait to try the zucchini fritters! So am I correct in guessing that in lieu of deep frying it’s pan fried and serves just as well?

  10. I totally agree about eliminating restaurants without tiramisù and crème brûlée!!
    These zucchini fritters look perfect! Dill and mint go so well with zucchini and the couscous looks perfect! Yum!

  11. girlichef says:

    That’s frickin’ gorgeous, Joanne! Some serious centerfold action going on in this post. Plus, I’m so intrigued by the cinn/cumin combo in there…I’d love to give these a go. Thanks for sharing ’em w/ Two for Tuesdays, too…now I’m gonna go ogle the photos for a bit longer… 😉

  12. saveur says:

    What a delicious Middle Eastern dish! Love it! Thanks for submitting it to PPN! 🙂

  13. This looks super delicious!

  14. Nelly says:

    That looks amazing! I think I’d pair it with the greek yoghurt instead of the couscous, or maybe even raita… *goes into meal-planning mode*

  15. Katerina says:

    All these ingredients are excellent especially during summer. Great combination.

  16. Kristin says:

    I make zucchini fritters too but usually just eat them as is. I will have to try this recipe next time. It looks really good.

  17. Julie says:

    HOW did you read my food mind. i was just thinking the other day how i really wanted to make zuke fritters and then you grace my life. except i don’t have the energy or desire to slave over my non central air-ed really hot house. so can you remind me of this recipe in like a month when it might be cooler? great. thanks!

    on another note i say i need to hit restaurant week EVERY year! and every year i never have 30 bucks to spare. the one time i went it was SO amazing. i need to go in the fall or winter?

  18. I tell you each time I stop by your blog I leave starving!! Girl you are good. How much flavor is packed in this cous cous fritter sandwich thingy??amazing. No one needs restaurant week when they have you as a friend! You can cook it all better I bet. xxoo

  19. Kim says:

    Okay, did you just say cinnamon and cumin dressing? Be still my heart! I’m loving both your side dishes Joanne. I’ve definitely got to try to get on board and join in for some of the Symon love. Those zucchini fritters look terrific with those nice chunks of feta running through them-delicious!!!

  20. Eliana says:

    This dish looks so robust and delicous!!!!

    But you have left me att eh edge of my seat girl – where did you decide on making your restaurant week reservation?

  21. mmmm fritters sound great! where are you going to eat out?!?!?!

    friends are better i get asked out by august 27, or august 17th. not sure. but he asks about my dad and wants to say stuff in my emails to dad…and my dad just doesn’t say anything about it(possibly because he only reads parts/really fast//skims it.

    Your father does not like the idea of me haha. :-p It’s natural

  22. sweetlife says:

    fritters rock, your plate is perfect for summer…restauraunt week..nice, havefun


  23. Ameena says:

    I am still trying to get past the PhD/MD portion of this post. How can one person be so smart? It just doesn’t seem fair.

    Plus you can cook amazing things like zucchini fritters! And take fabulous pics too. Is there anything you can’t do? Please share.

  24. Mo Diva says:

    exquisitely done diva! i love it

  25. RamblingTart says:

    Your photos are MARVELOUS, Joanne! 🙂 Love, love, love these recipes, the perky fritters and heavenly salad with that splendid dressing. 🙂 Well done!!

  26. Giovanna says:

    holy smokes Joanne, that post title is a mouth full! Ha : )
    It looks wonderful and I love zuch fritters! Such love on a plate!
    I agree, who the heck wants angel food cake during restaurant week!!!

  27. Amazing amazing amazing! I love all the flavors and especially the second picture. So beautiful! And agreed on the Restaurant Week choices. If I’m getting sorbet for dessert, I’m not coming.

  28. Susan @ SGCC says:

    This looks amazing! I’m a huge fan of couscous and I’m simply drooling over those fritters! Well done!

  29. Oh man, I feel so dumb because I’ve never ever done restaurant week here in Boston. Why not? I enjoy paying full price? I have no idea. Sad! Must remember this year!

  30. Christy says:

    Wow – I love love love both cinnamon and cumin – I love your couscous! And those fritters – well, what new can I say that others haven’t already said? I.WANT.SOME.PLEASE!
    a wonderful addition to Two For Tuesdays -thanks!

  31. Ty'sMommy says:

    Oh yeah, I’m all about the side dish! Awesome!

  32. Suman Singh says:

    oh my..this look so good…yummm

  33. Pam says:

    Oh how I enjoy your writing.

    Loving both of these side dishes and putting them together is brilliant! Great photos, like usual.

  34. OMG Good! I miss NYC so much! 🙁 These look beautiful! Where do you find the time?! Amazing!

  35. Swathi says:

    Zucchini fritters with couscous eggplant salad looks really awesome . I love the dressing to. .

  36. Joanne, those are some serious fritters and now I have to try them because I am so intrigued the combination of cinnamon and cumin. Just imagining myself sinking my teeth into that beautiful sammie!

    This really rocks.

  37. Probably the most drool worthy super healthy food I’ve seen in a while. I want it right noooooow.

  38. Cristie says:

    How could this be any better? Wow! I’m making these fritters and that dressing, that dressing . . .

  39. Wonderful plating! I’ve been seeing lots of zucchini fritters around lately, would really love to try someday!

  40. Erica says:

    I love the look of the zucchini fritters,perfection!

  41. newlywed says:

    My husband gets that crazy over restaurant week too. Weeks of research are involved, and many, many discussions over menus. Charts have yet to appear, but are just around the corner…it is a major holiday around here in Boston!

  42. I like the exotic combination in the couscous. I’m always looking for ways to use eggplant. Zucchinis are coming to the market in full force, the fritter look like a great recipe.

  43. I love zucchini fritters! There, I’ve said it. It’s good thing too, because my zucchini plant is starting to pump them out with abandon. How beautiful your fritters are paired with the couscous. Two great recipes, Joanne!

  44. sophia says:

    What the heck…forget restaurants. Can I dine in YOUR kitchen? And Joanne, love your criteria for choosing restaurants…I think I could thoroughly trust your taste!

    Btw, will be in NYC Aug 2-4…can you meet up on the evening of the 3rd? (Tuesday)

  45. What beautiful tall food and your perfect photos that let me see the zucchini shreds and flakes of cinnamon.

    In two words…Gor Geous!

  46. Cara says:

    I’ve been meaning to make that couscous salad, it sounds totally fab! I bet it goes great with the zucchini fritters, especially with the punch of saltiness from the feta. Gotta have contrast, I say.

  47. Amy says:

    I make a lot of sides for actual dinners. I find that I make a lot of appetizers for dinner, too. I will not be put in a box!

    Seriously, how can you go wrong with anything containing the word “fritter” in the title? You just can’t.

    Your pictures get more and more stunning, J.

  48. wow looks first class and I agree with amy snaps are wonderful

  49. RV says:

    This is true symphony of flavors… Can’t wait to have a bite.

  50. Sara says:

    I love these flavors, but your presentation is gorgeous!

  51. This looks completely exotic! I’ve been meaning to make zucchini fritters but yours are on a whole new level than just plain old fritters. Kudos on the pictures and presentation! I feel like I’m looking at a 5 star restaurant!! You so rock!

  52. OohLookBel says:

    Brilliant idea – I adore zucchini fritters, but layering them with couscous is inspired!

  53. Lori says:

    I tend to take charge of aimless situations like that too. Ha! I have to make some zucchini fritters. These look delicious and how great to top them with a couscous salad.

  54. Everybody makes zucchini fritters…but yours is in a class of its own and unique!
    Excellent shots too!

  55. grace says:

    absolutely sophisticated and delicious fare, joanne.
    incidentally, i love that dessert was the first criterion for you. 🙂

  56. Barbara says:

    You are getting so dressy with your side dishes, Joanne…components yet. YUM.
    When we go out we consider two things: the dessert menu (often the true test of a restaurant) and what is served as a side dish with various main courses. It usually determines what I order.

  57. oh myyy i want those zucchini fritters! gorgeous!

  58. These look absolutely awesome!! I was just going to say I’ve been seeing zucchini fritters all over the internet lately, but yours totally take the prize! And that’s even apart from the cinnamon-cumin dressing, which automatically gets you 100 more points! I’d rather eat this than any side dish during restaurant week!


  59. beautiful pics, looks superb..

  60. I would never have thought to pit the 2 together Joanne. Separately they are delicious but paired they are amazing.

  61. Kristen says:

    I would think you would need a year to get through all of the good restaurants in NYC, devoting 20% of the year to each borough. Now, I’d like to be in charge of that kind of expedition!

    Great pairing. I love all the flavors zipping and zapping in your mouth as you bite into them.

  62. Catherine says:

    Bravo Joanne! This looks simply delicious, and the truffle cheesecake from your previous post looks outstanding!

  63. Kelsey says:

    ive been enjoying so much cumin lately! that stuff is so good with beans and rice!!

    btw thank you so much for your breakfast rellenos, they were SO TASTY! you are a freaking genius! xoxo

  64. Koek! says:

    That is so BEAUTIFUL I want to cry! I get so much ore excited about veg dishes than meaty main courses… thanks for this. It’s poetry!

  65. Mary says:

    These look robust and delicious. I’d really like to give them a try. You just can’t go wrong with that combo. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  66. Bob says:

    Looks fantastic! I still need to try couscous, I’m not sure what’s stopping me…

  67. I can eat zucchini fritters every day; funnily, I never had them with feta. I must remedy this. The couscous salad sounds delicious and the whole combo right up my alley.
    I think a great restaurant ought to have the most amazing lamb dish, chocolate cake and salad to make it in my book.

  68. Andreas says:

    Perfect, colourful summer food.

  69. Gulmohar says:

    Such a splendid meal there..A perfect summer platter, Joanne

  70. Sippity Sup says:

    I have made zucchini fritter and loved them. Mine had dill but I wish I had added feta! GREG

  71. Sook says:

    Wow, that looks so delicious! What a great idea to eat it like a sandwich with rice and dressing. Yum!

  72. I love that you love side dishes! The zucchini fritters are delicious little things with the feta and dill. And I love the couscous with them! Did you say cinnamon dressing? I am so making this!

  73. Both those dishes look delicious! I loooove fritters. It’s been way too long since I made zucchini fritters! I love dipping them in sour cream mmm.

  74. Oh and last weekend I went out for dinner and the side dishes all looked amazing… but I didn’t order any of them. I should’ve though instead of the pasta I did order! They had asparagus zabaglione!! Most intriguing.

  75. Fantastic job. Great recipe, colors, textures and presentation. A+++

  76. i need a cold shower staring at the pics of these babies! great post joanne 🙂

  77. ruchikacooks says:

    Fried food! Those fritters look delicious, especially with couscous and salad!

  78. Stella says:

    Genius! I already knew you were that though…
    This is right up my alley, and I am so trying it.
    Oh, and you sound like a doctor about the blood pressure thing. Every doctor I’ve ever spoken to about it or taken a class with says it’s only a matter of time before it gets high.

  79. Hehe. You definitely succeeded in making side dishes sexy in this post. I especially want to try the zucchini fritters! I love restaurant week(s). I went to Russian Tea Room with my mama for lunch on Monday. It was so good. The side dishes made me think of you: salmon with pomegranate-glazed polenta and balsamic reduction grilled summer vegetables. 🙂

    And thanks for your sweet comment on my Hospital Part II post!

  80. Jessie says:

    Ooh, baby. Serve those side dishes up nice and hot on a smooooooth platter. Or serve it cold. Whatever 😉

    If I was going out for restaurant week, I would want you to make the reservation, Joanne. I know you would be willing to tackle the waitress for the last chocolate lava cake, just for me 😀

  81. Kerstin says:

    I love how you layered the couscous and fritters – talk about the perfect side or main dish 🙂 I always forget about restaurant week here until it’s too late – I need your organizational skills 🙂

  82. Carolyn Jung says:

    So pretty with all that nice greenery. And I have a pot of dill going gang-busters in my backyard. Now, I know a good dish for it. Thank you!

  83. Debinhawaii says:

    Ok, this looks amazing and I love how you have it all stacked up—very pretty! I could happily eat it as a main dish or side dish. 😉

  84. Monet says:

    I just found your blog today, and I’m loving it! These fritters look amazing, and you are such a great writer. Thanks for sharing!

  85. OH MY GOODNESS! This looks divine and your photographs are amazing! I love creative little food packages like this! Thanks for sharing it on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! Alex@amoderatelife

  86. theUngourmet says:

    I am completely WILD about this recipe! It looks crazy good and I’m seriously considering catching the next flight out to NY so that you can whip this up again…just. for. me! ;D

  87. Pam says:

    OMG! Bookmark, bookmark, bookmark!!!!

  88. Ruth Daniels says:

    Yet again…great story, droolingly (I do think it’s a word and if not…it should be) awesome photos. As for side dish…how about two sides = one main and forget anything else!!! Thanks so much for sharing with PResto Pasta Nights. As usual, you’ve outdone yourself.

  89. Shannon says:

    hehe. i’ve got a picture of zucchini corn fritters sitting in my drafts folder… if only i had a story like this to put with it 🙂

  90. Mary says:

    This both looks and sounds GREAT! It has been bookmarked!!

    Delightful Bitefuls

  91. These are so beautiful! Wonderful pics.

  92. Nicole, RD says:

    Restaurant week officiator…I’m not surprised! What a GORGEOUS recipe! It is too pretty to eat!

  93. Chris says:

    Good god that is series of serious food p*rn. I was so intrigued! The fine specks of spice were a pheromone for my eyes. The brilliant green and crispy crust of the fritter, alluring. I was so “culinary turned on” by this dish.

    Then you said “eggplant”. That word has the effect of a cold shower on me 🙂

    But damn if you didn’t make me want it. I might try this but substitute some thick chopped mushrooms for the Eggplant.

    Great post, Joanne.

  94. Karen says:

    With all the zucchini we had from the garden last year, I never made fritters! Will do that this year 🙂 Love your pics!

  95. The fritters look fab. I’ve got summer squash growing quickly, and hope to use some in a fritter. Thanks for sharing with Two for Tuesday.

  96. Peggy says:

    Ah I bet this was just amazing. The color and photography is phenomenal! Makes me want to jump through my screen and take a bite!

  97. And I am out of zucchini…..drat.

    Both look fantastic.

  98. Dawn says:

    I could eat this every day and not get sick of it. I’m serious. And looking at the 101 previous comments before me I have a feeling everyone else could too.

  99. Totally agree with your dessert-based elimination criteria. And these side dishes sound like something worth gettin hot and bothered about. Yummy!

  100. Kim says:

    You’ve stopped me in my tracks this morning. These look a-maaaaazing. The dill and the feta combo get me every time, but adding zucchini fritters and this couscous- and making a pretty little tea sandwich? I love these!

  101. I made the zucchini fritters for a dinner party this past weekend. They were fantastic!

  102. Valen says:

    I just made the zucchini cakes without the fresh herbs or lemon zest and added Parmesan cheese. They were fantastic!

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