Finally! Mom and I have nailed down Nonna’s batter-fried zucchini recipe, which was never written anywhere, of course, and is one of those things that Mom had to show me instead of tell me. (Boy, I learned that the hard way.) Although I rarely eat fried foods, I can’t imagine my life without these savory fritters, so I was determined to stick it out until…victory was mine!
So, let’s pretend it’s August, when zucchini were exploding in everyone’s gardens (maybe you still have some left?) and I was all set to post this recipe. Here’s a behind-the-scenes account of how family recipe documentation occurs at Cooking with Mamma C.
Me, talking to Mom on the phone: “So how much flour do you put in the batter?”
Mom, relatively calm: “I don’t know, maybe two cups.”
Me: “How many eggs?”
Mom: “Maybe two. It has to look like it’s not enough.”
Me, slightly confused but pressing on: “So how should the zucchini be sliced?”
Mom, starting to get impatient: “They have to be thin.”
Me: “So, would you say half an inch wide?”
Mom: “HOW THE HECK WOULD I KNOW? WHY DO YOU ASK ME THESE THINGS?”
Me, holding the phone six inches away from my ear: “Because I have a food blog?”
So we hang up, and I attempt to make the zucchini with my sketchy notes. Except it wasn’t enough. The batter, I mean. My fritters were falling apart. They tasted okay, but something was definitely off. So, I called Mom again.
Me: “The ratio is off. There’s too much zucchini and not enough batter.”
Mom: “Maybe I use three eggs.”
Me, to myself: “I’m not trying this again without her.”
So Mom and Dad came over for a cooking session. Of course, Mom brought all of the zucchini, eggs, oil, her own pans, and paper towels, just in case I didn’t have any.
And I made the zucchini with her, trying to take notes as we went. But Mom still “forgets” that I have to measure everything, and I caught her adding salt and pepper to the eggs without letting me pin down the amounts first. According to Mom, she puts in a dash of each. But I counted four dashes of salt and three dashes of pepper, for what it’s worth.
But then…then…oh my goodness, there they were, Nonna’s batter-fried zucchini that I adore, made just like in Naples, coming out of my kitchen for the first time! Dad and I couldn’t wait for them to cool, so we were shoving them into our mouths while they were still hot and crispy. I added more salt to mine at that point, because when they’re that hot, you can’t fully taste all of the flavors yet. I love them crispy, but when they cool off and soften, you can really taste the depth of flavor from the eggs, the oil, the zucchini, and the salt. To die for.
You can make these for an appetizer or side dish. The leftovers are great for breakfast or packed lunches, or just an anytime snack. Just make these at some point in your life. I want you to know what you’ve been missing.
P.S. I did try to make these in the oven, but they just were not the same. Go big, or go home with this one.
(Recipe Source: My Nonna, via my Mom, who had to show me how it’s done)