We really don’t fry much, just not the way we like to cook, but every now and then we get the ich to try something new and this time it was in the form of a home made aioli due to not wanting to throw away three beautiful, super fresh egg yolks left over from a pavlova I was making for dinner that just called for egg whites. For me, the obvious pairing choice with the creamy, savory, complex sauce was something crispy, light, uncomplicated and delicious…fried zucchini. We had some freshly roasted cloves of garlic in olive oil on hand for another dish we were making that night, and I typically always have fresh basil pesto and cilantro-walnut pesto in my fridge as we make it a lot and it will last forever. You can use your favorite store bought pesto sauce or simply blend up a 1/4 cup of fresh basil, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon nuts (pine nuts, walnuts or almonds), 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 cloves of garlic and about 1/2 -3/4 cup fresh olive oil.
Fried Zucchini with Roasted Garlic and Pesto Aioli
Ingredients for the Aioli:
3 large egg yolks
5 roasted garlic cloves
1/4 cup basil pesto
2 tablespoons cilantro-walnut pesto
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
For the zucchini:
2 large zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1/2 can beer, at room temperature
3/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded
1 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 tablespoons chopped basil
1/2 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
Canola oil for frying
2 whole eggs, divided (2 eggs yolks beaten and 2 egg whites whipped to very stiff peaks)
For the aioli – combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor or using a stick blender and puree together for about 20 seconds then slowly start to drizzle in the olive oil creating a creamy emulsion. Continue to blend until the sauce has doubled in volume. Pour into a container, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
For the zucchini – Combine the flour, cheese and spices together then add to the beaten egg yolks. Stir to combine. Add the oil, beer and season with salt and pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon of each or to your taste) stir to combine. Then fold in the whipped egg whites, combining thoroughly. Pour canola oil into a deep saute pan about 2 inches high then set over medium high temperature. Test the heat of the oil by dropping a bit of batter into the fat, if it sizzles and cooks quickly the oil is ready. Carefully dip each slice of zucchini in the batter (we used kitchen tongs) and lay in the oil. Cook about 3-5 minutes on the first side, until golden brown, then flip and cook about 3 minutes on the other until both sides are very brown and toasty.
Lay on a rack and season with salt and pepper. If you are going to wait a bit before serving put the tray in a 300 degree oven to keep the squash crispy. Serve on a platter with the aioli garnished with a bit of extra cheese and parsley.