Zucchini & Parm Fritters with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Recipes

SERVES: 6 TO 8 • TIME: ABOUT 45 MINUTES

Everybody likes fried food (if you say you don’t, you’re lying!), and these little guys are fried food done beautifully: a ton of zucchini held together by just a little bit of batter. They’re the perfect combination of salty, crispy, cheesy, and spicy all rolled into one. And, they’re a cinch to make: Do all your mise en place ahead of time; then you can make the sauce and the batter at the same time. Once you’re prepped, fry these babies until they’re really dark and crunchy. What we want here is crispy, crunchy, and dark. Woo-hoo!

MISE EN PLACE

FOR THE SAUCE

Extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, cut into ½-inch dice

Large pinch of crushed red pepper

Kosher salt

2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped

1 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes (with their juices), passed through a food mill or puréed

FOR THE FRITTERS

Extra virgin olive oil

2 onions, cut into ½-inch dice

Kosher salt

1 zucchini, cut into ½-inch dice

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano, plus more for garnish

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ to ½ cup whole milk

Peanut or other neutral-flavored oil

FOR THE SAUCE

1Coat a large saucepan with olive oil, add the onion and a decent pinch of red pepper—don’t go crazy here with the spicy stuff, you can always add more along the way—and bring the pan to medium-high heat. Season with salt and cook until the onion is soft and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

2 Add the tomatoes and stir to combine. Taste and season with more salt and red pepper if needed. Bring to a boil (BTB) and reduce to a simmer (RTS).

3 Continue cooking until the sauce thickens, 15 to 20 minutes. Remember, it’s a dipping sauce, so you want it thick, highly seasoned, and delicious. When it gets there, remove it from the heat, adjust the seasoning if needed, and … get ready to dip!

FOR THE FRITTERS

1Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil, add the onions, season with salt, and bring the pan to medium-high heat. Cook until the onions are soft and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes.

2 Add the zucchini, season with salt, and cook for another 7 to 8 minutes, or until the zucchini is soft and just beginning to color on the edges. Remove from the heat and let cool.

3 In a large bowl, combine the flour, Parm, and baking powder. Add the zucchini and onions to the bowl and stir until just combined. Add the milk gradually (you may not need it all) and stir to combine; you want a very thick batter. Don’t worry about the lumps.

4 Pour peanut oil into a large saucepan over medium-high heat; the oil should come 1½ to 2 inches up the sides of the pan. While the oil heats, set up your drying situation next to the stove by putting a couple layers of paper towels on a baking sheet. To see if the oil is hot enough, drop a little ball of batter into it. If it sizzles and floats quickly, you’re good to go. (If the batter burns or the oil begins to smoke, it’s too hot, so reduce the heat.) Drop 1-inch balls of batter into the pan without overcrowding. When the fritters turn nice and brown on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels. Work in batches to finish the rest of the batter. If the fritters begin to color too quickly, lower the heat; if they don’t sizzle when they hit the oil, turn it up.

5 When all the fritters are done, serve them with a sprinkey-dink of Parm and the super-yummy spicy tomato sauce.

You can judge the temperature of the oil by what’s going on in the pan, but if you feel the need to use a deep-fry thermometer, go ahead!

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