Italians love their zucchini. Fried, steamed, stuffed – you name it. They’ve found savvy ways of transforming this standard (and virtually flavourless) squash into a variety of dishes, both savoury and sweet. The zucchini puff, mind you, remains a bit of an enigma. I’ve never seen it on a menu or in a cookbook. Not once in my 6-week stay in Italy did I come across one. And if you try looking it up on the Internet, you’ll often stumble upon an Americanized version that looks like a potato latke suffering from an identity crisis.

The zucchini puffs that Nonna makes are light and pillowy and charmingly goofy-looking. The ultimate in minimalist cooking, they are made by mixing a handful of ingredients to make a batter, which is then fried in batches. They can be served hot or cold and while they are generally eaten as an antipasti, can very easily become part of the breakfast rotation.

As this is your standard no-nonsense recipe, it involves few ingredients and requires barely any kitchen gear. Your best friend right now will be a small, sharp paring knife. It will allow you to cut and trim and dice rather efficiently, and if you’re feeling extra dexterous, could even eliminate the use of a cutting board. Your second-best friend will be a potato ricer. If you don’t already have one, I highly recommend taking a trip to your local kitchen supply store and getting one. They are ace.

You will need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 small zucchini (skin on = more vitamins)
  • 1 cup flour + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • canola oil for frying

You will need to do the following:

*Note: these can be made ahead and re-heated in the oven at 375°F.