When my Mom brought over a couple zucchini and squash last week, I was pretty pumped about the squash. I love squash. I usually bread it up and fry the heck out of it. Done. But that zucchini could only be met with a glazed-over look of complete hopelessness.
I used one of them on my Thin Crust Garden Vegetable Pizza with Pepper Jack Cheese last week, but I still had another zucchini lingering over my head, and I hate to be wasteful - especially with fresh garden produce.
It was then when I remembered eating at one of my favorite places in Utah: Magleby's. We don't get to eat there often, (the entrees are a wee bit out of our price range), so we usually save it for Valentine's Day or our Wedding Anniversary (coming up on the big number 5 this month). Their salads are nothing to write home about, but MAN they have one of the best Prime Rib dishes out there; their Filet Mignon as a tasteful close second. The first time we went to Magleby's, it was during recruiting season for law school. Ryan still hadn't decided which law school to choose from his acceptance letters, so a local law professor took us out to dinner to talk things over. He ordered us a plate of fried zucchini - at first I was completely skeptical. But after dipping those crispy, but deliciously savory, zucchini slices in that zingy marinara sauce, I was hopelessly in love. I'm not big on appetizers, but the second we step into Magelby's, I can't help but crave a full-plate of that tasty, fried zucchini.
So, naturally, with this last zucchini, I wanted to take a crack at one of my favorites - except this time, I ditched the frying pan and pool of oil, and decided to keep things light in the oven. Baked zucchini fries. And yes, warm marinara sauce was essentially nearby.
Baked Parmesan Zucchini Fries
1 large zucchini, ends removed
1/2 C flour
2 t salt, divided
3/4 t ground black pepper, divided
3 large eggs
1 1/2 C panko crumbs
1/2 C grated Parmesan Cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper, and position oven rack in the center of the oven. Cut zucchini into thick french fries. I noticed that the very center of the zucchini (with all those seeds) doesn't hold together very well for fries. So it won't hurt to leave those pieces out.
With 3 shallow and wide bowls, you're going to make 3 separate coating mixtures:
In the first bowl, stir together flour, 1 t salt, 1/2 t pepper.
In the second bowl, whisk together eggs, 1/2 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper.
In the third bowl, combine panko crumbs, Parmesan, and 1/2 t salt.
Working in batches, and keeping one hand for the dry ingredients and one hand for the wet eggs, first dip zucchini in flour, shaking off excess. Transfer to egg mixture and toss until coated, letting excess egg run off, then coat zucchini in panko mixture.
Arrange zucchini, without crowding, in one single layer on prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes and then carefully flip zucchini to other side (I noticed a fork worked best). Continue to bake until panko is golden and crisp, about 10 minutes (take a peek after 7 minutes, though, just in case. Baking time will depend on oven, size of zucchini slices, etc).
Serve with warm marinara/pizza sauce.
Recipe Adapted From: Oprah.com/food