Nonna Villella's Vecchiarelle (Zucchini Fritters) Posted on 2 Feb 16:59 , 0 comments
These fritters get their name due to their wrinkly appearance: vecchiarelle means 'old people' in Italian. As children we found this amusing however Nonna did not.
The secret to this recipe is in preparing the zucchini. Nonna would finely slice them, almost paper thin, thin sprinkle them with salt and let them sit for a while. She would then squeeze out the excess water before mixing them into the batter. This technique draws out the water that dilutes the flavour.
6 Zucchini (courgettens), quartered lengthways then finally sliced (the thinner the better)
or shredded using a grater or food processor, salt, 1 1/2 cups (225 g) plain flour
1/2 cup (75 g) self-raising flour, plus extra if needed, 2 eegs beaten
1/2 cup (40 g) grated parmigiano reggiano, 1/2 cup (40 g) grated pecorino
4-5 zucchini flowers, finely chopped, 1/2 cup basil, finely chopped, olive oil, for shallow frying
Place the zucchini in a bowl, then add several generous pinches of salt. Leave to stand for 15-20 minutes to allow the zucchini to soften and the salt to draw out excess liquid.
In the meantime, prepare the batter by placing the flours into a large bowl and mixing well. Add the egg, grated cheeses, zucchini flowers, basil and 1 1/2 cups water and stir to mix well.
Squeeze out any excess liquid from the softened zucchini. Add the the zucchini to the batter and mix well. The batter should not be too runny nor too thick. Add extra flour (self raising or water to obtain right consistency.
Heat a large frying pan with enough oil to shallow fry. Oil must be very hot. Scoop heaped tablespoonfuls of batter into pan and cook for one minute on each side or until they are a light golden - if fired for too long the fritters with not be as moist. Remove and place on paper towel to drain.
These fritters are best served warm, or they can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days and served at room temperature.
We also love them in a panino with extra cheese!