Fried Courgette (Zucchini) with Thatziki

Harry Cipriani created the first Bellini but built a world class restaurant empire that spans across the world from Venice to London to New York.  When you first sit down for a meal the staff will quickly take your drink order and put down freshly fried courgettes as well as some other treats.  At Cipriani’s they change how they make these from location to location.  In NYC they are thinly sliced chips, in London they are shoe-string and it Dubai they are a thicker cut stick.  I make my own variation with some heat and herbs and they are a great way to start a party.

Of course, frying can be tricky unless you follow the very simple rules about managing a big pot of bubbling oil.

Ingredients 

  • 6 Medium unpeeled, courgettes (zucchini), cut into 3 inch x 1/2 inch logs
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 cups of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup parmasean cheese, finely grated, and 3 tablespoons for sprinkling
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons of chimichurri rub
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • Light olive oil for frying, around 2 quarts
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

The Equipment

  • 13 3/4 quart Staub cast-iron round cocotte or any other dutch oven
  • 4 inch wire skimmer with wooden handle, 12 inches long
  • Tongs
  • Paper bags from the grocery market
  • Candy thermometer
  • Large colander

Making In

  • Take the zucchini logs and lightly salt them and put them in a large colander, cover with a towel and out a heavy plate on top, gently pressing the zucchini.  Let sit for an hour and shake off as much salt as you can.  Most of the salt washes away with the water
  • Fill the dutch oven half-way with the oil for frying
  • In a bowl, whisk the eggs and Tabasco Sauce together
  • In another bowl mix the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, thyme, chimichurri and garlic powder
  • Place the flour in the third bowl and add more as needed
  • Dredge the zucchini in the flour, then the eggs followed by the bread-crumbs and place on a baking sheet

Time to Cook

  • Place the dutch over with oil and candy thermometer on a high flame until it reads 360 degrees
  • Working in batches and be sure not overcrowd, place the zucchini logs in the oil flipping them after 90 seconds, cook for another 90 and place on paper bag to get the excess oil off.
  • Make sure the temperature returns to 360 degrees before the next batch is fried.  Monitor the flame to make sure the oil does not exceed 370
  • Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and kosher salt
  • Optional:  Serve with tzatziki sauce

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