One of the delights of my childhood was to eat a panino stuffed with slices of fried zucchini. Truly, this tastes amazing.

I found this variety of round shaped zucchini at my favourite vegetable stall in the Queen Victoria Market; last year Gus and Carmel also had this variety and I had seen them previously both in markets in Sicily and in Tuscany.

The method of placing zucchini (or slices of eggplants) on a baking sheet and cooking them in the oven is not used in Italy — grilled means having grill marks, cooked over an open flame or in the home kitchen (on a ferro – a grill pan) and fried means shallow fried in hot extra virgin olive oil.

The fried (and the grilled) zucchini can be placed on a plate of  pasta – spaghetti dressed with a simple, summer, tomato salsa made with ripe tomatoes, basil, garlic, a little salt and extra virgin olive oil. They also can serve as part of an antipasto plate or be a contorno (side dish to accompany the main).

Fried zucchini are usually presented at room temperature — this means that they can be cooked well in advance.

Slice the zucchini lengthwise.
Sprinkle the slices with a little salt on one side. Rest for 10 minutes. Pat dry on paper towels (I have a number of tea towels that I use for this purpose) to remove the beads of moisture.
Fry in a little hot extra virgin olive oil. Turn only once.

I presented these fried zucchini with good quality bread, roasted garlic (not an Italian custom, French maybe ) and fresh mint leaves. We each made our own panini, had a terrific time and a great lunch!!