Summer in Romania comes with an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. One of them is the humble courgette, which can be transformed into so many delicious recipes. Today, I want to show you how to make Romanian pan fried courgettes, a delicious, light snack, accompanied by a refreshingly light and tasty garlic yogurt dip.
I bought a couple of courgettes last week, without having a recipe in mind with what to do with them. So they ended up forgotten in the fridge for a whole week. Today I noticed them at the bottom of the vegetable tray, and I decided on the spot to make this dovlecei pane recipe for lunch. And oh, what a great decision it was!
The Ingredients for the Pan Fried Courgettes
You don’t need many ingredients to make this recipe of pan fried courgettes. The main ingredient is of course, the courgette, and two medium courgettes will easily feed 2-3 people. Besides courgettes, for this recipe, you will also need flour, eggs, breadcrumbs – pesmet in Romania, yogurt, garlic, and the herbs of your choice. I think that the courgette pairs very well with aromatic herbs, so I mixed the breadcrumbs with dried mint, and served the dish with fresh chopped basil on top. In the yogurt, I also added dill, for an earthier flavour.
How to Make Pan Fried Courgettes
Making this pan fried courgettes recipe is not difficult, but it takes a little bit of time. Depending on how many courgettes you are using. For two courgettes, it will take approximately 45 minutes to complete this recipe.
Firstly, you need to prepare the courgettes. They absorb a lot of water, and this needs to be drained off, in order to obtain that wonderful, crispy crust. To do this, I sliced the courgettes, not too thin and not too thick, about 5 mm each slice. I then transferred them to a bowl, and generously sprinkled them with salt. I left them for 15 minutes, during this time, the water from the courgettes dripped out to the bottom of the bowl. I patted dry each slice, and then passed them through flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.
I feel that courgettes go very nicely with mint and basil, so I made sure to incorporate both herbs into this recipe. Firstly, I mixed the breadcrumbs with plenty of dried mint, for a more refreshing taste.
First, I prepared all the slices, followed by heating up the oil. I fried the courgette slices in batches, making sure I didn’t overcrowd the pan. Each slice needs about 2 minutes on each side, until it gets a beautiful golden brown colour.
Meanwhile, I also made the yogurt dip. For this, I added a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt into a bowl, minced then folded in a big garlic clove, and then finished with dried dill.
As the courgette slices were frying, I also prepared a separate bowl with a few sheets of paper kitchen towel at the bottom. This absorbed the extra oil, once I took the slices out of the pan.
I served the pan fried courgette with chopped fresh basil on top, alongside the yogurt dip.
I personally prefer this snack cold, but it can be enjoyed hot as well. It tastes so good, crispy on the outside and soft on the interior. The mint added freshness to the dish, complemented by the Greek yogurt dip.
Tips and Notes:
- For a golden, crunchy crust, don’t skip passing the courgettes through breadcrumbs. In Romanian, the breadcrumbs are known as “pesmet”. If you live abroad and can’t find “pesmet”, you can use Japanese panko breadcrumbs, for a perfect crunch.
- Whilst some cooks recommend frying the courgettes in a bath of oil, I don’t. I prefer a lighter, crispier crunch, then an oil drenched coating – as the courgettes will absorb the oil in the pan. I only added a finger’s width worth of oil and obtained a wonderful crispy coating on my courgettes.
- You can customise this pan fried courgette recipe by using different herbs, for your own taste. I used mint and basil because I think they add an extra layer of freshness to the recipe and also pair really well with courgettes.
Romanian Pan Fried Courgettes
- 2 medium courgettes/zucchinis
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 tbsp pesmet (breadcrmbs) I recommend panko if you can't find pesmet
- 2 eggs
- 4 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 1 big garlic clove
- 1 tsp salt
- vegetable oil to fry
- dried mint optional
- dried dill optional
- fresh basil optional
- Cut the courgettes in thick slices, of about half a centimetre.
- Add the slices in a bowl, sprinkle the salt on top, and let them sweat for around 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare three bowls: one with flour, one with breadcrumbs, and one with the beaten eggs.
- If you want to add herbs, mix them now together with the breadcrumbs.
- In a separate bowl, add the yogurt, and mix with the minced garlic, the dried dill, and a pinch of salt. Set aside in the fridge.
- After 15 minutes, pat dry the courgette slices with a kitchen towel. They need to be dry for the next step.
- Pass the courgette slices through flour, then egg and breadcrumbs, in this order.
- Heat up the oil in a deep pan. Then add the coated courgette slices. Don’t overcrowd the pan.
- You will probably need to fry the courgette in batches. I could fit in 6-7 slices in the pan, in one go.
- Prepare a bowl with paper kitchen towels in it.
- Fry the slices for about 2 minutes on each side, until they become golden brown. If necessary, add more oil as you go through the courgettes.
- When they are done, put the fried courgette slices in the bowl, on the kitchen towel, to absorb the extra oil.
- Arrange on a platter, sprinkle chopped fresh basil on top, and serve either hot or cold, with the garlic yogurt dressing.
Can you make the pan fried courgette recipe in the air fryer?
Yes, you can fry the courgette slices in the air fryer as well. Make sure to use an oil spray to coat the basket of the air fryer, as well as the courgette slices. Set the air fryer to 200 degrees, for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure to check, as each air fryer is different and the recipe may need more or less time. Whilst you won’t get that wonderful golden crust in the air fryer, the taste and the crispiness will be the same as frying in the pan.
How long do the pan fried courgettes last for?
I don’t recommend storing the pan fried courgettes because the crust will become soft in the fridge. I recommend only cooking as many servings as you need for lunch or dinner, so there are no leftovers.
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