Sunday, November 29, 2009

Zucchini Sousa

Zucchini sousa is a traditional family dish that's made with large zucchini during the height of the season when you don't know what you'd ever do with one more zucchini. This dish was a highlight of my childhood summers, made with zucchini from the gardens of nonnos, zios and neighbours.

I don't know what the word "sousa" means or if it's even a real word. And I don't know of anyone outside the family who makes this recipe. If you've heard of it, please leave a comment.

This is a fabulous summer side dish or picnic dish. It's served cold and tastes better the next day. If you like wine vinegar, you'll love this dish. My dad doesn't know this but he makes the best red wine vinegar ever. Don't ask about his wine.

Here's the recipe handed down from my nonna and mom. In true nonna fashion, it has no quantities. And in true Deb fashion, my sweetie makes it for me.


- medium or large zucchinis (not gigantic ones because they're too seedy)

- soft bread crumbs

- grated parmesan cheese

- fresh peppermint leaves

- red wine vinegar (use a lot)

- batter (flour, egg, milk, salt, baking powder)

- oil for frying

- salt


- Slice zucchini into 1/8-inch rounds

- Salt and then drain (put them in a colander with a weight -- a jug of water on a plate -- to drain the liquid from the zucchini)

- Dip the zucchini rounds in your batter and deep fry

- Put the fried rounds on a paper towel to drain off the oil

Assemble while the zucchini is still warm

On a serving platter, layer:

- fried zucchini rounds

- grated parmesan cheese (sprinkle onto the warm zucchini)

- pieces of mint leaves (make sure there's enough for every bite)

- bread crumbs

- sprinkling of red wine vinegar (sprinkle liberally with each layer)

Continue layering until all the zucchini is used.

Refrigerate (overnight is best) and serve cold.

Delicious! Thank you nonna!