Zucchini Zircles

The Hamlet <3

I spent a lot of time at Hamburger Hamlet. My sister and grandmother lived in Pasadena while I was growing up, and the Hamlet was one of the closest restaurants, not to mention one of the nicest and best by far. I grew up visiting and plowing through incredible hamburgers and french fries that were to die for. When I was about 12 or so, I discovered that zucchini isn't a horrible food. In fact it's quite good. That was when I noticed that Zucchini Zircles was an entry on the Hamlet's menu. "Yes please". One bite and I was hooked. They were wonderful and became a regular part of my diet. I miss the Hamburger Hamlet so much.

I made The Pioneer Woman's Hamlet recipe for Zircles last night and here are some notes: 

1. The dipping sauce portion of the recipe makes a HUGE batch of sauce. I only used 2 zucchinis, I should have used 4 or halved the amounts. 

2. Breading the zucchini one slice at a time is not fun. After I had done 4 I started looking for more efficiency. Here's what I did:

  • Grabbed two large soup bowls out of the cupboard and poured the flour into one and the bread crumbs in the other
  • Next, I put all the zucchini slices in a sieve and rinsed them very well. I shook them to get rid of most of the water, then dumped them into the bowl with the flour. I tossed them around with my hands until they were very well-coated. I dried the sieve and put the slices in, then got rid of the loose flour that hadn't stuck.
  • Then I poured the milk into the bowl and gently added the flour-coated slices in. I shook the bowl until the slices were all wet.
  • Finally, I transferred the slices out of the bowl of milk and into the bowl containing the bread crumbs - I did this by hand, I didn't pour them out of the bowl so I prevented too much liquid from soaking the breadcrumbs. I did the same tossing in the breadcrumbs that I did with the flour and they came out great.

3. Frying the Zircles took longer than the recipe says. Instead of 1 to 1.5 minutes, each batch took about 3 to 3.5 minutes. They sizzled very well and got beautifully browned, so I don't know if my oil wasn't as warm as Ree's was, or if the fact that I fried them in a large saucepan instead of the large skillet she calls for made a difference.

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman


For the Dipping Sauce:

  • 1/2 c. Pineapple Juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Dry Mustard Powder
  • 1 1/2 c. Apricot Preserves

For the Zucchini:

  • 2 whole Zucchini
  • 1/2 c. Flour
  • 1/2 c. Milk
  • 1 c. Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  • Salt For Sprinkling
  • 1 qt. Vegetable Oil, For Frying


Make the dipping sauce by mixing pineapple juice, soy sauce, and mustard powder in a blender. Pour it into a bowl and mix in the apricot preserves. Set aside (or make ahead of time and chill.)

To make the zucchini zircles, slice the zucchini into rounds about 1/3 of an inch thick. One at a time, bread them by dredging them in flour, dipping them in the milk, and coating them in the breadcrumbs. Set on a wire rack over a cookie sheet as you do the rest.

To fry them, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it's hot, add the zircles 3 to 4 at a time using tongs. (Oil should sizzle and envelop the zircles.) Allow to fry for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until deep golden brown, then remove to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest. Sprinkle with salt when they're out of the oil.

Serve zucchini zircles with the apricot dipping sauce...and reminisce about the last time you were at Hamburger Hamlet! (For me, it was around 1990.)

***From a Hamburger Hamlet recipe