These babies are addictive and delicious.
Last weekend we were invited over to a neighbor’s place for an outdoor party (shout out to Amy and Mitch). I was excited – these people are serious foodies and seriously good cooks! The only task that was asked of me, “Can you make those zucchini fries you cooked last year?” I didn’t need to be asked twice…deep fried food…I’m all over that (Have I mentioned that I grew up in Alabama?)
I came across the idea of frying thinly chiffonaded zucchini about this time two years ago. If you’re a home gardener you know that late summer is the time of year when your little patch of veggies becomes over loaded with zucchini. The damned things are like bunnies.
One day you go out and you have three cute little zucchinis growing on the vine and then you walk outside the next day and you see that an army of baseball bat-sized zucchini plants have invaded your garden over the night. You’re stunned and left waving your fist at the sky screaming, “Damn you, zucchini fairy!”
So, it was really out of need that I went on a hunt to find the perfect recipe to use up what had turned into my own little zucchini plantation.
I mean, there are just so many zucchini baskets you can make before your neighbors realize what you’re up to and beg you to stop.
I was happy as a clam when I found this recipe. It’s simple and a party favorite – ever time that I have made them the fries disappear in a blink of an eye. They have a delicious light flavor (well, as light as deep fried vegetables can be). Think tempura.
And the olive oil makes them a step above your average fried foods.
I promise you, no one will be able to have just one.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There are three keys to this recipe. First, you have to use medium to small sized zucchinis – the seeds in large zucchinis are to mature and make cutting strips difficult. Second, you have to get the zucchini as dry as possible – you do that by letting the salt draw out as much of the liquid as it can and then you have to squeeze the zucchini strips like there’s no tomorrow in a dishcloth.
And lastly, get the oil hot (but not smoking) before using it – this will keep the zucchinis from soaking up too much oil while frying.
This recipe can be easily multiplied – just keep the olive oil at one cup. Instead of increasing the olive oil just increase the number of batches you fry the zucchini (i.e. cook one zucchini in two batches and two zucchinis in four batches).
1 medium zucchini (about 7” long)
1 TSP kosher salt, plus more for final seasoning
¼ TSP freshly cracked pepper
3 ½ TBL all purpose flour
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Cut the zucchini into relatively thin strips, about 1/8” wide (see above photo step-by-step). Sprinkle kosher salt and pepper on the zucchini strips and toss to evenly coat. Place seasoned zucchini strips in a strainer and allow to sit until it releases a good amount of liquid, about 25 minutes.
Place zucchini in the middle of a dishcloth, roll into a tight ball and twist until you are able to wring out as much of the zucchini’s liquid as possible.
Placed zucchini in a medium bowl and sprinkle with flour – toss to evenly coat with flour. If there are large clumps of tangled zucchini strips, carefully untangle by pulling apart. Shake out excess flour and set zucchini aside.
In a heavy-bottom saucepan or wok, heat olive oil over med high heat until it’s relatively hot but not smoking. In batches (about 2) dropped zucchini in oil and cook until the zucchini is a rich yellow, about 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Place zucchini fries on paper towel to drain. Salt to taste.
Makes about 1 ½ cups of fries.