Sunday, July 15, 2012

Parmesan Zucchini Fries

Since Kristin and I live in a second-floor apartment, we don't get much of a chance to grow our own food.  In fact, even the poor herbs that I try to grow in the window only have about a 50% survival rate.  Kristin's family has a great garden, though, and they even like us enough that they sometimes share their home-grown veggies.  Thankfully, that means we don't miss out entirely on the fresher-than-fresh summer harvest.  This week, Kristin's mom shared a couple of beautiful, gargantuan zucchini with us.  I really don't think I've ever seen larger.  She mentioned that she was going to make Zucchini Parmesan out of the ones that she kept, and that sounded awfully good.

This week, I made something like a side-dish version of Zucchini Parmesan: zucchini fries. They're lightly breaded in crumbs and Parmesan, seasoned with classic Italian flavors, and served with marinara sauce.  These fries made an awesome accompaniment to our dinner, or could serve as an easy appetizer or party food.  If you find yourself saddled with a couple of giant zucchini (or some boring, regular-sized ones), give these fries a try.

Here's the cast of characters: a couple of enormous zucchini, some panko bread crumbs, some Parmesan cheese, an egg or two, a bit of milk, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

If you haven't been blessed with a giant zucchini, don't be too glum - just use a few more standard sized ones.

Start by cutting your zucchini down into 3-4 inch long sticks.  If you want your fries to be more crisp, err on the thinner side for the sticks.  I enjoyed getting a little more meaty zucchini bite, so left the sticks fairly thick.

Next, set up a breading station.  Make an egg wash by whisking the egg into the milk in a bowl large enough to submerge your zucchini sticks.  On a plate, combine the breadcrumbs, all of the seasonings, and plenty of grated Parmesan.  Don't be shy with salt and pepper - these fries will be a bit bland without a significant amount.

Cover a baking sheet with some parchment paper, or just grease it if you don't have parchment handy.

Your breading process is simple - dip each zucchini stick in the egg wash, roll in the breadcrumb mixture until it's lightly coated, and place the finished product on the baking sheet.

Don't worry about getting each and every piece 100% covered in crumbs, especially if you're using a larger crumb like panko and Parmesan that doesn't come from a green tube.  It just won't stick completely, but that's fine - you get plenty of crunch and flavor from this "rustic" breading.

Bake your fries for 25-30 minutes in a 425 degree oven until they're crispy and golden brown.

Serve immediately with marinara for dipping.

Recipe: Parmesan Zucchini Fries
Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 4-6 as Side Dish

  • 4 Large Zucchini (Or 2 Gargantuan Zucchini)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 tbsp Basil
  • 1/2 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  Grease or cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cut zucchini down into 3-4 inch long sticks.
  3. In bowl large enough to submerge zucchini sticks, whisk eggs into milk to create egg wash.
  4. On a large plate, combine panko breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and plenty of salt and pepper.
  5. Dip each zucchini stick in egg wash, then roll in breadcrumb mixture to coat.  Place on prepared baking sheets.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes at 425 degrees until fries are golden-brown and crispy.
  7. Serve immediately with marinara sauce for dipping.

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