Crispy, cornmeal breading and tender zucchini- a match made in heaven.
Without fail growing up every summer there would come a time when the zucchini in the garden would grow out of control, almost too numerous to keep up with. At that point you end up with a lot of zucchini bread and, if you’re lucky, a lot of fried zucchini, too. Thanks to my mom we never had to go without lovely, tasty, savory, fried zucchini.
This Southern treat is best when made with cornmeal and I won’t hear arguments to the contrary. The cornmeal offers a little bit of crunch to the breading and gives a subtle flavor.
Mixed in the cornmeal are plenty of savory spices and some all-purpose flour. While it is technically possible to make a breading without cornmeal, it’s just so much better with it!
For the wet part of the dredge, you want a mixture of both egg and milk. I find that too much egg not only makes the bowl of dry ingredients gloopy faster, it also doesn’t fry up as well. The best mixture is one egg with some milk in it. This keeps the dry ingredients sticking, but doesn’t add too thick of a texture to the various elements of the recipe.
The amounts listed in the recipe below are for 2 zucchini, but if you have some really big ones then you might need to double both the egg mixture and cornmeal mixture.
As for a dipping sauce we often have ketchup and I’ve included a pepper-spiced version in this recipe. But, if you prefer ranch dressing or dijon mustard then have at it. Any of these work really well with the fresh flavor and crisp texture of fried zucchini.
This is a dish that’s perfect all year ’round but which will always remind me of summer.
25m prep time
18m cook time
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- black pepper to taste
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1-2 cups vegetable oil for frying, or more as needed
- 2-3 zucchini, sliced
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- In large bowl combine cornmeal, flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, cayenne, paprika, and black pepper.
- In another bowl combine and slightly beat egg together with milk. Heat oil to 170˚F in stock pot or deep frying pan over medium heat.
- Dip zucchini slices first in egg then dredge in flour. Carefully drop into pot and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes each side. Place on paper towel-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each layer with salt as you lay the zucchini out to drain of oil.
- While last batch is cooking combine ketchup with black pepper to taste to make dipping sauce. Serve fried zucchini while still warm with spiced ketchup on the side. Or serve with ranch dressing or dipping sauce of your choice.
Recipe adapted from Food Network.