WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAVE TOO MANY ZUCCHINI?
MAKE ZUCCHINI FRITTERS!
Italians take their food seriously so if you ever plan to deviate from a traditional recipe do it with caution. Depending on what region of Italy you are from you may call zucchini fritters a variety of names. Perhaps your Nonna, Nonno or parents have called them one of the following names below but at the end of the day, they all taste delicious and a must-try for any zucchini lover.
Zucchini fritters are a staple in just about every Italian household and just about every Italian we know has a huge garden which means, lots of zucchini. The zucchini fritters take on many Italian names, Pitticelle Cucuzze or you might have heard Pah-TAL-ee, Frittelle di Zucchine, Pitticelle di Zucchine especially if your family is from Calabria.
For those of you visiting the blog from the UK or other countries you may be searching for Italian Courgette Fritters and you’ve found them.
Zucchini vs. Zucchini Blossoms
For this recipe we decided to go gluten-free, low-carb, keto for my wife although we both love the Calabrese zucchini fritters the authentic way.
In order to stick with tradition all you have to do is add in 1 cup of all-purpose flour to the mix instead of the coconut flour and you’ve got your zucchini fritters batter made the original way.
If using the orange zucchini blossoms inspect them, gently wash to clean and cut them into strips and add to the batter. Adding 2 or 3 blossoms to this recipe won’t change it much at all.
For our recipe we didn’t have any zucchini blossoms this year since my father-in-law passed away and we had no garden to pick from.
It was nice to have free organic veggies every year and most certainly something we never took for granted.
I remember in the summer he would have these monster zucchini and hand us 3 or 4 of them. Both Mrs. CBB and I would look at each other and wonder what we would do with them.
Different ways to use zucchini
Over the years we’ve come up with our own traditional recipes that incorporate Italian heritage such as zucchini rolls and zucchini pasta or zoodles as they are known. You can even use zucchini to make lovely zucchini lasagna by replacing the lasagna noodles with thin, long strips of zucchini slices.
He would never, ever pick zucchini when they are small which you find at the grocery store. He would let them grow until their maximum size before picking. It makes sense though if you think about it. If you could feed 10 people from one zucchini why not let it grow instead of picking it small and feeding 2 people.
Unfortunately our yard is too small to have a garden with all the vegetable blessings he had although we do plant as much as we can with the space we have. We also use pots to grow herbs which visitors to our house will see as soon as they come to the front of our house as they blanket our walkway and smell gorgeous.
There isn’t a time when someone doesn’t tell us how wonderful our herbs look. We take pride in them since we use them all summer in just about all of our recipes, just like this one.
The zucchini for this recipe was gifted to us from a generous lady in our community so we put them to use right away as we knew exactly what we wanted to make. The part we weren’t sure about was how to make zucchini fritters low-carb and without any gluten. We didn’t have any almond flour on hand so we decided to go with the coconut flour for this recipe but only 1 tablespoon as coconut flour absorbs quite a bit of liquid.
How to prepare your zucchini
Cooking with zucchini can be tricky especially if you aren’t aware of the amount of water that they are made up of. Just like a cucumber the zucchini is mainly water which means you must drain, and squeeze it dry before making your zucchini fritters.
Some people like to peel and then clean the seeds from the inside of the zucchini and then cut thin slices. This is perfectly fine to do for this recipe but we decided to shred the zucchini instead.
We opted to keep the peel on and not take anything from the middle as they were baby zucchini which really doesn’t yield many seeds at all and the skin is so fresh. You can however peel the zucchini if you fancy it that way.
Once we shredded the zucchini we put it in a cheesecloth and squeezed as much water as we could out. Then we put it into a Tupperware container mixed with salt to draw the water out and topped it with paper towel.
From there we closed the lid and sat the container upside down in the refrigerator over-night. By the next day the water had drained into the paper towel and with one more gentle squeeze the zucchini was ready to go.
You don’t have to refrigerate it overnight but we chose to do it this way just to be sure the water was fully drained. You can simply way something heavy over your cut or shredded zucchini and let it sit for an hour if you are pressed for time (no pun intended, hehe).
The reason for the strict draining is because you want your zucchini fritters to be crispy and not mushy which will happen if you keep too much moisture in your zucchini.
How to make Italian Zucchini Fritters
Look everyone, my first cooking video…yay!!
When making zucchini fritters there are must-have components if you want them to be authentic. You don’t have to have the blossoms but they are nice to have. Besides the blossoms you must have Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese, salt, baking powder (optional), pepper, eggs, garlic, chives, parsley and basil.
Those are the fundamental summer herbs for any Italian garden and used in so many Italian recipes. Luckily we just happen to have all of those herbs growing in pots so we don’t have to run and buy them from the grocery store.
Using a good quality extra-virgin olive oil or butter ghee and a deep-frying pan heat to frying temperature and drop spoonfuls of the batter into the oil. With these being gluten-free we used the back-end of the spoon to press them down and round them out perfectly. Authentic Italian zucchini fritters are random sizes and perhaps not perfectly shaped but it’s up to you.
The zucchini fritters don’t take long to fry at all so don’t walk away from the frying pan. Once the bottom is golden brown flip each one over for another minute or so and then set in a dish to drain with some paper-towel. Once drained move to another dish and add more Italian fairy dust otherwise known as grated Parmigiano cheese. 🙂
- 2 small zucchini peeled and grated
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup grated parmigiano regianno (reserve a bit for the top after frying)
- 1 cup grated romano cheese (reserve a bit for the top after frying)
- ¼ cup grated asiago cheese (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cloves of fresh minced garlic
- 1 cup fresh basil chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley chopped
- ½ cup fresh chives chopped
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- extra virgin olive oil for frying
- Peel your zucchini and grate (if you are using large zucchini clean the seeds out first but the small zucchini typically don't have any)
- Place in a cheese cloth or strainer and squeeze as much water out from them as you can. Put into a bowl or plastic container with the salt and place in the refrigerator over-night with paper-towel over top to absorb the water.
- The next day give the grated zucchini another squeeze to drain any water that is left.
- In a large bowl add all of the ingredients and mix them together to form a batter.
- In a large skillet that is deep enough for frying add extra virgin olive oil and heat on medium high heat.
- Drop equal spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil for frying.
- Using the back of your spoon press down on the batter to form patties or you can leave them as they are.
- Once the bottom is golden about 1-2 minutes flip to the other side and do the same which shouldn't take too long about a minute or so.
- Remove and place on paper-towel to drain then to a dish where you can add more cheese and sprinkle with fresh parsley and basil before serving.
- These should take 2-3 minutes each to fry and give you around 15 depending on how you little or big you make them.
- If you choose not to refrigerate the zucchini over-night and just squeeze the water and press for an hour the prep time will be 1 hour 20 minutes. If you leave overnight you can add however many hours you refrigerate to your prep time.
- If you opt not to use any coconut flour the net carbs will change. You don't have to use coconut flour.
You can eat these zucchini fritters as snacks or freeze them for later use. If we have nice juicy tomatoes we like to make a tomato salad on the side to make a nice summer lunch or dinner.
We’ve had zucchini fritters both the authentic Italian way and now the Keto/Low-Carb way and both are delicious.
Discussion: What recipes do you like to make with zucchini?
Net Carbs: 1.5g per each zucchini Fritter