Make Ahead

Roman Zucchini Fritters with Parmigiano Cheese

July  4, 2015
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 1 large platter
Author Notes

A family summer favorite that uses that delicious abundance of summer harvest zucchini. —cucina di mammina

Test Kitchen Notes

This is a perfect recipe for kitchen parties. Don’t rush or overload your pan, work in batches to fry your battered zucchini slices and save some fresh basil to sprinkle on the finished fritters at the end. I loved the casualness of this recipe, because everyone can make this recipe suit them. I like to retain some texture in my cooked zucchini so I sliced them 1/2 inch thick, which worked perfectly. Since it makes quite a large batch, it's perfect for entertaining!

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup or so of semolina flour
  • 3/4 cup or so of fresh Italian Parmigiano, grated (and extra grated cheese for topping at the finish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 10 to 12 fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
  • 2 large fresh organic eggs
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 to 1 cups water
  • 3 to 6 medium-thin zucchini, washed and sliced into medium-thin slices
  • Olive oil for frying
  1. In a large, deep bowl, combine the flour, grated cheese, garlic powder, chopped basil, and eggs, and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you feel the batter isn't thin enough after adding the eggs, slowly and gradually add water to the batter until it's thick enough to adhere to the slices of zucchini. Mix this well with a fork until well blended, then add the slices of zucchini and gently mix by hand to coat each and every slice.
  2. Let this mixture rest for a moment or two. In the meantime, prepare a large platter with paper towels and set aside.
  3. Add about an inch or so of olive oil to a large, deep, non-stick skillet and place on medium-high heat. Test the oil by dropping a bit of batter in; it should slowly start to cook and begin browning.
  4. Begin adding your zucchini slices and allow to cook and brown until the zucchini begins to soften and the batter is a golden color.
  5. NOTE: Adjust the oil temperature according to the thickness of the zucchini slices. Thicker slices need more time to cook, so don’t over brown these—keep the heat a bit lower—while thin slices will cook very, very quickly.
  6. Turn the slices over to cook completely on the other side and then remove them to the large platter and place gently on the paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with additional sea salt at this point, if desired.
  7. Once all the zucchini slices are cooked and drained, remove the oil from the heat and discard properly once cooled.
  8. Serve these at room temperature with a healthy dose of additional grated Parmigiano cheese to taste. Enjoy with wine and toasted breads as an appetizer, or as a side dish to chicken and meat dishes.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rebecca Burnham
    Rebecca Burnham
  • stefania
  • rob
  • Alexandra Stafford
    Alexandra Stafford
  • Maurina Rachuba
    Maurina Rachuba

30 Reviews

Amy September 25, 2020
Could this work with eggplant?
Rebecca B. July 4, 2020
I tried this and want to try again! I didn’t get it right on several points. I think the oil was too hot at first, and it will take practice to get the batter consistency. That said by the 3rd batch they were improving! They’re not very crispy. Are they supposed to be? Any advise? I’d love to perfect these little guys! Thank you
stefania June 27, 2020
Can’t wait to try these, but i don’t have a nonstick pan that is deep .... is there a specific reason we can’t use a higher sided pan that isn’t nonstick ?
cucina D. June 27, 2020
Nonstick is just easier as the batter tends to stick
TDeu June 27, 2020
I don’t have semolina. Can I use AP flour instead?
cucina D. June 27, 2020
yes but semolina is a fine grind so I suggest sifting the AP flour so it costs lightly not heavily
rob December 28, 2017
Absolute winner of of a recipe. It requires a little bit of judgement with frying but we are big kids here. One other thing when it says thin I am never sure but I assumed it would be like melanzane and about 4 mm would do, which it does by the way.
Kim September 7, 2016
This recipe looks so good! But, my batter came out pasty. What did I do wrong?!
cucina D. June 27, 2020
Try slowly adding the flour; too much will create that pasty feel and taste
deanna September 3, 2016
Why don't you use fresh garlic? I don't even own a jar of garlic powder. It's easy enough to press a clove or two of garlic.
cucina D. September 5, 2016
Deanna, it's not about the ease of use here in this recipe, my grandmother who made these when she was a little girl in Italy taught us to respect garlic and its flavor levels.
For us the fresh garlic flavor profile would be a bit too strong in flavor the dried garlic powder (I use organic) is more subtle in this recipe. Feel free to use fresh garlic if you prefer.

I never fry garlic or leave whole cloves to linger in certain dishes as I was taught by my famiglia that the garlic's acidic profile can be excessive. You should always use your own taste discretion when trying out new recipes! Hope you enjoy these as much as we do 😀
rob December 28, 2017
I usually hate garlic powder but it works beautifully in this recipe.
Alexandra S. August 31, 2016
These look so good! Trying tonight!
Dee E. August 31, 2016
Trying to leave fried foods behind. Would you be able to "bake" this recipe?
Jeff August 31, 2016
Why? Olive oil is fantastically healthy for you. The Spanish fry lots of things in olive oil, and you don't see them waddling about...
cucina D. August 31, 2016
Jeff I agree as my famiglia uses olive oil for everything even fried eggs in olive oil are still my favorite. However, I do fry less as I am getting older to maintain a healthier approach.
cucina D. August 31, 2016
Dee you can certainly try to bake these, my suggestion is to grease the baking sheet well as the batter will be quite messy, etc. You could also try using parchment paper to keep them from sticking
Maurina R. August 31, 2016
Can these be baked?
Kathleen November 8, 2015
Made these this weekend, except I cut the zucchini lengthwise into thin slices, omitted basil and finished them with extra parmesan and lemon wedges for squeezing. My boyfriend and I LOVED it! Reminded me of a restaurant we went to when I was younger, which has sadly since closed, that had the BEST fried zucchini. This was the first recipe I've found to replicate it- definitely making again!
cucina D. November 9, 2015
Thanks for the comment, Kathleen! So happy you loved the recipe and totally love your idea to cut the zucchini into strips. This has been in my family for years, I will try your strip version for my famiglia next time :)
cucina D. September 10, 2015
Thank you so much genevieve for your wonderful review on my recipe.
I love your photo and hope that you and all my foodies friends here on Food52 enjoy this recipe as much as we do!
boulangere August 31, 2015
I thought about testing these, and saw the comment notes about what do do with the basil, but I can't figure out where the water comes in.
cucina D. August 31, 2015
The water is added at the mixing of the batter depending on how thick it is after mixing the eggs in. the batter needs to be tick enough to adhere not too watery so add in small,amounts as needed. I will revise and update the recipe itself ASAP!! Thanks for your interest in my recipe, I look forward to your feedback
boulangere September 1, 2015
Thank you. And what about them makes them Roman?
cucina D. September 1, 2015
This is a very traditional Roman style preparation for zucchini found all over Rome and the surrounding regions in Lazio (the province) where my family was born & raised.
boulangere September 1, 2015
Interesting. Thank you.
genevieve August 30, 2015
I put these into sandwiches with arugula and tapenade, delicious!
cucina D. August 31, 2015
What a brilliant idea, Genevieve! Thanks so much for trying my recipe and I am bookmarking your idea for my famiglia too :)
Amanda August 28, 2015
What do you do with the basil?
cucina D. August 28, 2015
Oops! I need to edit this in the recipe, thanks for asking. The chopped basil is added to the batter before frying up in the oil.