Friday, August 13, 2010

At long last, Zucchini Fries!

Have you tried making fries out of zucchini before? I have. It doesn't work. You basically get soft, slimy, deep-fried zucchini. Not really finger food and not really appetizing. So, I got to thinking. Why do potatoes make such quintessentially perfect fries? And why do sweet potatoes make an excellent substitute? Starch!

First, I cut one super large zucchini (fresh & local - hurrah summer!) into fry-length sections. Then, using my wonderful mandolin slicer, I made perfectly julienned pieces. Using a clean flour-sack style towel, I dried all the pieces and then dipped them in a bowl of arrowroot starch (about 1/2 C), mixed with sea salt & pepper. Toss the zucchini pieces in the starch until evenly coated, then shake off the excess. Do to this without making a mess and taking forever, I put them in my mesh strainer and shook it out over the sink.

A few Christmases ago my MIL got me a deep fryer. I LOVE it. However, before I got it, I would deep-fry things (in teeny batches) in my big cast iron skillet. I use rendered local, pastured beef tallow for the oil. Not only does it survive the high heat very well, it also is actually nutritious (honestly!) and has a great flavor besides. Once my fryer has reached 325*F I go ahead and drop the first batch. Small batches are key, because they WILL stick together.

Okay, here's the "secret" to yummy, crispy zucchini fries (aside from coating them in starch): you need to double-fry. The first time I fry them for 4 minutes. I shake the basket, let the grease drain and then pour out onto a cut-open paper bag (or old newspaper). While they are cooling and the excess grease is soaking into the paper, I drop another batch. When that one comes out to cool/drain, I put the first batch back in for 3 minutes. When I pour it out on to the bag again, I immediately salt (while the grease is still hot). I go back and forth between 1st drops and 2nd until everything has been fried twice.

Sort of time-consuming, sure. Hot as Hades in the middle of summer, yep. Worth it? Absolutely. But maybe only once a week. ;)


  1. Okay, so it sounds like we need a deep fryer --what kind do you suggest?

  2. Oh dear. I got mine as a christmas present. It's a Cuisinart. It's smaller so you can conserve grease/oil usage. There's the basket for removing stuff... there's a temperature gauge which is pretty handy. And the inside cleans out super easy. so... I would recommend features like that. :D


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