Zucchini tanning: the recipe – Italian Cuisine

Zucchini tanning is a simple, fresh and aromatic side dish of Jewish-Roman cuisine, to be tasted in the Capitoline Jewish ghetto or to be prepared at home

Jewish cuisine blends with Roman cuisine to create a dish as simple as it is tasty and vegetarian: the zucchini tanning. The recipe is nothing more than a local variant of marinated courgettes, which is characterized by the use of two typical Roman ingredients, namely Roman courgettes and Roman mint. Let's go then to discover its characteristics and preparation.

Zucchini tanning, specialty of Jewish-Roman cuisine

In Italy the Judeo-Roman cuisine it is present in many cities, but what can be considered the real reference point for lovers of this gastronomic tradition is the Ghetto, the Jewish quarter of the capital. It is in fact right in Rome the oldest Jewish community in Europe, born in the second century BC, as well as some of the best Jewish inns and restaurants in Italy. An inevitable dish of this traditional cuisine is the zucchini tanning, easy to prepare, but rich in flavor. One of the main ingredients, as for similar preparations of marinated courgettes or Neapolitan courgettes in scapece, is white wine vinegar, used since ancient times to preserve food in a natural way, often diluted in a little water.

How to cook them and how to use them in the kitchen

The main ingredient, as we have seen, is le Roman zucchini, with a slightly bitter taste, small, light, streaked and characterized by the well-known pumpkin flower, widely used in Roman cuisine. The original tanning recipe calls for these courgettes to be cut thinly for a long time (but there are those who prefer them in rounds) and that the slices are about 3-5 millimeters. Then proceed with frying in abundant boiling oil. When the courgettes are golden brown, they should be drained and left to dry on a plate, on absorbent paper, and seasoned with a sprinkling of salt. At this point, take a tall container and, once placed a first layer of fried zucchini, season it with a chopped parsley and mint (previously minced), extra virgin olive oil and slices of garlic; everything is finally sprayed withWhite wine vinegar, for the marinade, to then proceed in the same way with the subsequent layers. Once the courgettes have cooled, the casserole dish should be placed in the fridge overnight and taken out about half an hour before serving at the table.

In restaurants, tanning is generally proposed as starter, often accompanied by a slice of freshly baked homemade bread or a piece of white focaccia, or like side dish of meat or fish dishes. Zucchini tanning is also sometimes used to stuff burgers, wraps or the classic Roman white pizza.

If you want to prepare this recipe at home, you can of course give space to your imagination, thinking of its other creative uses in the kitchen. For example, it can also be served as an appetizer together with other marinated vegetables or used to stuff croutons or delicious finger food.

Photo: Concia_di_zucchine_wikipedia commons.jpg
Photo: zucchini tanning revisited_Flickr Fugzu.jpg

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