Fried Zucchini Fritters (AKA Fritelle di Zucchine)
The much-anticipated zucchini fritters recipe is finally here and it’s an especially good one! Zucchini fritters, or Frittelle di Zucchine as they’re called in Calabria, are one of our favorite ways to use up the abundance of zucchini we accumulate each summer.
The funny thing is we don’t grow zucchini. We just keep buying and hoarding them throughout the summer in a sort of zucchini-obsessed craze. Next thing we know we’re making zucchini fritters 2x a week, Pasta con Pancetta e Zucchine, and Pesto di Zucchine. Regardless of the quantity we acquire of this delightful veggie (it’s actually a fruit), we end up eating it all!
How to Make Fried Zucchini Fritters
The key to making good zucchini fritters is salting the zucchini properly in order to ensure they’re dry enough. Watery zucchini equals watery batter which equals watery zucchini fritters. We want crunchy, light, and fluffy fritters.
You can remove excess water by salting the zucchini and letting them sit. The longer they sit the more water is released. Flip and spread out the zucchini out as you salt to ensure you coat both sides and the water can be exit. We typically use a big strainer and leave it in the sink or a bowl to catch the excess water. Then pat down zucchini with a hand towel. Take it a step further by gently wringing out the zucchini in the towel.
Flat vs Sparkling Water
We prefer cold sparkling water for this recipe because it creates a crunchier exterior. However, if you don’t have sparkling water, flat/tap water is fine. Giuseppe’s mom, Lina, switches back and forth regularly between flat and sparkling water depending on what’s in the pantry. In general, this recipe is quite forgiving.
This is not the type of batter you can make and leave for a few minutes. It needs to get into the pan as quickly as possible. We recommend gently heating the oil right before you add the zucchini in order to reduce the amount of time the zucchini sits in the batter.
We use extra virgin olive oil for frying. We particularly love EVOO for this recipe because the flavors complement each other perfectly. However, that’s not always an option. You can use regular olive oil, sunflower oil, or another preferred cooking oil. Adjust the cooking temperature according to the type of oil you’re using and remember extra virgin olive oil will smoke if placed and left on high heat. Read more about frying with extra virgin olive oil here.
Fried Zucchini Fritters as an Appetizer
This recipe usually makes between 22 to 26 fritters (about 2 ½” x 2 ½” each). We measure using a large kitchen spoon so it’s not exact. This can easily be stretched so there are enough fritters for 8 people as a small appetizer. Use a smaller spoon to make the fritters smaller.
Fried Zucchini Fritters Recipe (Frittelle di Zucchine)
The perfect recipe for Fried Zucchini Fritters (Frittelle di Zucchine). Make this for a summer dinner party either as a side or appetizer.
- extra virgin olive oil or preferred frying oil
- 4 zucchini, approx. 7" long (calabaza or italian work well)
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 to 3/4 can sparkling water (12 oz.)
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmigiano reggiano (*can use only parmigiano reggiano if preferred*)
- 1/4 cup finely grated pecorino romano or pecorino calabrese
- 1 tbsp kosher salt (for salting)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Cut zucchini lengthwise then chop into 1/16" to 1/8" thick half rounds.
Place zucchini into a large strainer then liberally salt with kosher salt. Mix to ensure salt is coating both sides. Spread the zucchini out as much as possible to allow all liquid to drain. Let zucchini drain for 20 to 40 minutes. Dry further using a dish towel to gently squeeze or pat down.
Note: The longer the zucchini drains the less water they retain which creates crispier fritelle.
Prep a tray with a rack or line a baking tray with paper towels.
In a large bowl add flour, 1 tsp salt, pepper. Mix with a large whisk.
Make a well in the flour mixture. Then add egg, 1/2 can water, parsley, and cheese. Stir. If the mixture is extreme tacky add more water 1 tbsp at a time until it's stirs smoothly. But it should still be thicker than pancake batter.
Lastly fold in the zucchini with a large spoon. Some of the liquid from the zucchini will make the batter more liquidy.
Heat a medium large pan with 1/4" to 1/2" preferred frying oil on medium or medium-high heat. If using extra virgin olive oil do NOT heat on high or the oil will burn.
Test if oil is hot by gently lower a very small spoonful of batter into the oil. Once the edges start to boil with small but consistent bubbles the oil is hot.
Note: A wooden or silicon coated spoon is best for clean up.
Use a large kitchen spoon to measure and scoop batter into the oil. Cook for approximately 2 minutes or until golden brown and then flip. Remove fritters to drying rack.
Note: Using two spoons or tongs makes flipping easier. Our fritters are usually 2 1/2" x 2 1/2".
Sprinkle fritters with flaky salt while still hot if desired. Serve immediately. Enjoy!