Egg-Battered Zucchini Roll-Ups

By Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

(Makes 10 servings)

Thin strips of zucchini, dipped in egg and fried, were among my favorite dishes when I was little. The children can be involved in much of the preparation—dipping the zucchini in flour and then in the egg batter. I serve the strips to the grandchildren at room temperature with just a sprinkle of salt, but they’re also delicious warm. Rolled up with capers and secured with toothpicks, they make a great finger food.

1. Rinse and dry the zucchini, and trim off the stem and blossom ends. With a sharp knife, slice the squash lengthwise into strips about 1/8-inch thick—flexible but not paper-thin. You should get 5 or 6 strips from each small zucchini. 

2. Dump the flour into a wide bowl or shallow dish. In another wide bowl, beat the eggs well with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and a little bit of pepper. Set a colander on a plate to drain the battered strips before frying. 

3. Tumble 5 or 6 zucchini strips at a time in the flour, coating them well on both sides. Shake off loose flour and slide the strips into the beaten eggs. Using a fork, turn and separate the strips so they’re covered in batter. Pick them up one at a time and let the excess egg drip back into the bowl, then lay them in the colander. Dredge and batter all the zucchini strips this way and let them drain. Add the egg drippings collected under the colander to the batter, if you need it. 

4. Pour canola oil into the skillet to a depth of 1/3 inch and set it over medium-high heat. Cover a baking sheet or a large platter with several layers of paper towels and place it to the side of the stove. 

5. When the oil is very hot but not smoking, test it by dropping in a half strip of battered zucchini. It should sizzle actively and begin to crisp around the edges within 30 seconds, but not smoke or darken. When the oil is right, quickly slip several strips into the skillet, using kitchen tongs or a long fork to avoid spatters of hot oil. Don’t crowd the strips—no more than 7 at a time in a 12-inch pan—so they crisp quickly and don’t absorb oil. 

6. Maintain the heat so the strips are sizzling actively. Cook on the first side for a minute and a half or so, then flip them over. They should be nicely colored on the first side; if not, raise the heat slightly. Cook on the second side for another minute and a half, until golden and crisp, then transfer the strips to the paper towels. Lay them flat in a single layer and sprinkle them while hot with pinches of salt. 

7. Fry all the strips in batches and salt lightly right afterward. It’s best to let them cool uncovered, but if you need the space, lay paper towels over a sheet of strips for draining the next ones to come out of the skillet. Let the slices cool for a few minutes. 

8. To form the roll-ups, place a fried strip pointing away from you on your work table, with the wider end (from the blossom end of the zucchini) facing you. Place 3 or 4 capers on that end, then roll the strip tightly, enclosing the capers in the center. Stick a toothpick all the way through the roll-up so it stays together. Roll up all the strips—or as many as you want. 

9. Just before serving, stand the roll-ups on end and squeeze drops from half a lemon (through a strainer to catch the seeds) all over the spiral tops. Arrange them on a serving platter. 

Nutrients per serving