Proust had his madeleines; I have my zucchini fritters. One bite and I'm taken back to my Long Island grade school, where I was the only student with immigrant parents. I went by Donna in an attempt to assimilate, but instead of packing a PBJ in a Farrah Fawcett lunch box, my mother sent me off with foil-wrapped fritters stuffed into a brown bag. Despite the fact that I whined for a more mainstream lunch adn was relentlessly picked on, I secretly loooved these. Today, I beg my mother to make them. Hers are without question the best, but mine are a pretty close second. She never grates the zucchini (which I am always tempted to do because it's quicker—alas, results in a watery batter), but rather cuts the zucchini into almost confetti-like pieces. The tinier the zucchini pieces, the better. Use a food processor with the fine-dice attachment for the best results, or cut by hand the way my mommy does it.
Donatella Cooks by Donatella Arpaia
|4 medium zucchini, finely diced||1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil|
|2 eggs, lightly beaten||Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley||3/4-1 cup all-purpose flour|
|1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano||Olive oil|
Combine the Zucchini, eggs, parsley, Parmigiano, and extra-virgin olive oil and stir until the zucchini is coated. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add 3/4 cup of the flour just a sprinkle at a time and stir. Continue adding until the mix is the consistency of pancake batter, add more if the zucchini is very wet.
Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pan with 1/4" olive oil. Heat over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches, spoon the zucchini mixture into the pan in 2-tablespoon mounds. The fritters should be three-quarters submerged in the oil. If bits of zucchini stray, scoop them up and return them to the fritters. Reduce the heat slightly and fry until golden brown, turning once, about 5 minutes per side. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Allow the oil to return to medium heat before proceeding with the next batch.
Serve the fritters on a parchment-lined tray. The leftover fritters will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 2 days. Reheat, wrapped in foil, in a low oven.
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