Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Fried Zucchini Sticks
Fried zucchini is one of my favorite things to eat in the world. At Italian restaurants, I'm that person who always tries to convince the table to go for the plate full of fried zucchini slices instead of the more obvious choice--fried calamari. I love rounds of it topping my spaghetti, I like it broiled with a bit of Parmesan, but most of all, I love it like this--searingly hot with a crisp, puffy coating and sprinkled with parsley and a squeeze of fresh lemon.
If you happen to be entertaining for New Year's Eve or New Year's Day and you're looking for something easy that will be a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, I highly suggest whipping up a few batches of these as people filter in. I haven't met a person yet who's been able to resist them. xo
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 cups white wine
4-6 medium zucchini
1 lemon, halved
Small handful parsley leaves, chopped
For the batter, whisk 1 cup of the flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl. Gradually add 1 cup of the wine, whisking until the batter is smooth. The batter should be a little thicker than heavy cream; thin it with a bit more wine if it's too thick. Set aside.
Put the remaining 1/2 cup flour into another medium bowl and season it with a couple pinches of salt. Cut the zucchini in half crosswise, then lengthwise into fat sticks.
Add enough oil to a heavy pan (I use cast-iron for all my frying) to reach a depth of 1 inch. Heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
Working in small batches, dredge the zucchini in the seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Give the reserved batter a quick stir, then dip the lightly floured zucchini into the batter, shaking off excess. Carefully add the zucchini to the hot oil one piece at a time to prevent them from clumping together. Fry the zucchini in small batches, turning them as they brown, until puffed and golden all over, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to lift the zucchini out of the oil, then drain on paper towels. Season with salt while still hot.
Serve the zucchini in small batches as you fry so the pieces stay hot and crisp. Drizzle with a squeeze of lemon juice and garnish with a scattering of the chopped parsley. Yum.