So many zucchinis! When I planted my vegetable garden back in the spring, I didn’t realize I would get such a generous bounty. My friends Cort and Kathleen share the produce from their amazing garden as well, so I’ve ended up with quite a few of them! All the better, since crispy battered zucchini are a hit with my family.
I didn’t realize either, when I dug the holes for the seedlings, how large the zucchini plants would get. Lesson learned for next year: I need more room for the zucchini plants, and more space between them and the next variety of vegetable. But the lesson for this year, which I learned early: wear garden gloves! Those zucchini leaves are very spiky.
This is possibly my favorite time of year in terms of fruits and vegetables: stonefruit like plums and peaches and nectarines, which are oh so juicy; tomatoes galore, tomatoes everywhere, of every variety. And the king of all fruits in my book, the fig, even if I cannot enjoy it in this part of the world; or the pomegranate (check out the ones my mom and sisters harvest at home in Spain!). Every morning is like Christmas morning, when I go out and check how many tomatoes, cucumbers, or peppers are ready to be harvested. And zucchini, of course!
You have probably found many ways to cook zucchini by now. One of them, which I learned when I moved to North America, was to put it in sweet loaves, zucchini bread. What a creative way to eat zucchini, I thought, to make it pass as fruit. I thought the same thing about carrots: carrot cake! Seriously, to use a vegetable in what one would think of putting just fruit. Ingenious.
The recipe I’m sharing today for zucchini is very simple, and it’s one my mom made often, and one of my dad’s favorite: calabacines rebozados, or my translation to English, crispy battered zucchini. Now, a note of clarification: the zucchini will be crispy just for a while, so they have to be eaten immediately. You won’t believe how such few, humble ingredients can make such a delicious side. They work well as a side dish for fish or meat or chicken, or you can eat them just by themselves. I dare you to stop at just one. I never can!
CRISPY BATTERED ZUCCHINI
2 medium zucchini
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup iced cold water, or more as needed
1 cup olive oil, for frying (you can use canola)
1 Tbs fresh chopped parsley
Peel the zucchini and slice into 1/4 inch thick slices (it the zucchini is thinner than 2 inches in diameter, cut the slices diagonally).
In a medium bowl, sift the flour and mix in the salt. Add half of the water and mix with a hand whisk. Continue to add water and whisking until the mixture reaches a not-too-thick, not-too-thin consistency.
Heat the oil in a medium frying pan. Working in batches, dip the slices of zucchini in the batter mix and fry. When the oil is hot (check by adding a few drops of the batter; if they sizzle, the oil is ready), reduce the heat to medium and add a few slices of battered zucchini, making sure to let drip excess batter before adding to the pan.
When the edges of the slices start to slightly brown, about 1 minute, turn them over with tongs and fry on the other side until cooked, about 30 more seconds.
Remove from the pan and transfer to a plate covered with paper towels, to absorb excess oil. Repeat the process with the remaining zucchini slices. Remove the paper towels, sprinkle with minced parsley, and serve immediately.
Note: To obtain crispy zucchini slices, make sure that the oil is consistently hot throughout the frying process, raising the heat or lowering it accordingly
(*) Pomegranate trees and fig photos by Marlen Caballero (my mom) and Paula Sanz Caballero (my sister)