OK, so I stand corrected. After posting zucchini fritters on my blog, paying tribute to Grandma Isabella, I heard from my son Michael. I got it all wrong.
I’m only human! I formulated her fritters from how I recalled she made it. That was many years ago. Apparently, my son payed closer attention than I did. I give him a lot of credit for that. Michael is a good cook himself and has developed a passion for it as I have. I guess the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. He’s observing his grandma the way I had observed mine. Good for him! There is a treasure of knowledge and good food we can take from our elders, they have spent a lifetime developing it. We should not ever let it go to waste.
Here is my son Michael’s recollection of Nonna’s Zucchini Fritters:
“First off ditch the flour, you need very fine semolina flour, 1cup. To that add 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 3/4 cup Romano cheese , basil, salt and pepper. You CUT the zucchini into half moon slices very thin and do not get rid of any juice!!! Add 2 eggs to the dry Ingredients and mix, then add less than a cup of water. You want a very thick paste. You then add the zucchini and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. The juice from it will make the batter thinner. Oh, and you’re not an 80 year old Nonna.”
Do I detect a sense of humor in my son?? Now where could he have gotten that from? From an early age he knew the importance of food and how comforting it could be and connected it with love and caring. Like the time when he was five and cared about my VCR player. He thought it was hungry and fed it raisins one day. I couldn’t figure out why the tapes were not playing well, until I brought it in for repair and the tech guy told me it was full of raisins. Maybe Michael thought they were California Raisins and if he put them into the VCR maybe they would sing and dance for him on the TV.
So, I call this recipe “Nonna’s Zucchini Fritters 2.0”. I actually liked my zucchini fritters, but this one is the real deal. I told my son Joseph that his brother Michael gave me the authentic recipe for Nonna’s Zucchini fritters and that I will be making them today. He asked me if I want him around when I make the fritters to let me know if I’m doing it right. He knows how they are made because he has also seen his grandmother make them many times. If this gets me any closer to zucchini fritter nirvana, sure, why not. Something tells me though, that after I make these and have my son Joseph taste them, he’s still going to say, “They are not like Grandma’s”.
I might have a room to rent soon if anyone is interested.
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1 medium zucchini, about 8 ounces, cut lengthwise in half and thinly sliced into half moons
- 3/4 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese, plus 1/4 cup to sprinkle on the fritters when done frying
- 2 large eggs
- 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup of water
- oil for frying
Mix the semolina flour, garlic powder, grated cheese, basil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the eggs to the dry ingredients and less than a cup of water to form a thick batter.
Add the sliced zucchini to the batter and mix well. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes so the batter absorbs the moisture from the zucchini. You should have a thick pancake style batter. The batter should just be thin enough for it to slip off the spoon without you having to push it off.
Heat your frying oil in a large pot to 350 degrees. Drop the zucchini batter into the hot oil in large spoonfuls. Allow to brown and turn the fritters to brown on the other side.
Place the fritters on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the extra oil. Sprinkle each layer with additional Romano Cheese. Serve hot.
These fritters are also great eaten right out of the refrigerator. Just ask my son Joseph.