I handed in my manuscript for Untitled South Italy Cookbook earlier this week (check out the hashtag on Instagram for a visual sneak peek–much more to come when I head out to Berkeley to shoot the studio shots with the great Ed Anderson and George Dolese later this month), so I thought I’d share one of my favorite easy summer recipes from the book.
Summer in the Italian South is a time of grilled zucchini, fried zucchini, fried and marinated zucchini, stuffed zucchini, baked zucchini, zucchini parm, and more. The point is, this New World import is abundant in the summer months, so cooks have invented all sorts of ways to use it up. These zucchini patties offer a super simple and delicious way to do that. I also love how similar this dish is to Turkey’s mücver, a reminder of just how connected the foods of the Mediterranean basin are!
Makes about 15 patties
3 cups zucchini, grated (about 2 medium zucchini)
½ cup fresh mint or parsley, chopped
3 large eggs, beaten
½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, for frying
Line a large platter or baking sheet with paper towels.
In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, mint, eggs, Pecorino, and a generous pinch of salt and stir until combined. Add the flour and mix well, eliminating any lumps.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the zucchini mixture with a large spoon making patties between ¼ and ½ inch thick and roughly 3 inches in diameter. Fry the patties in batches, turning once when you see even browning coming up the sides of the fritter. To prevent hot oil splatters, steer the oil to the bottom of the pan and flip the fritter towards the top of the pan. Brown on both sides, about 5 minutes.
Drain on paper towels, sprinkle with salt, and serve immediately or at room temperature.