Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Zesty Parmesan Fried Zuchini

Zesty Zuchini
When my friend offered me a zucchini from the garden, I enthusiastically said YES!!  Zucchini ranks up there as a veggie favorite of mine so I was eager to have some. I didn't realize it at the time, but this offering was for zucchini-zilla, a giant of a squash and enough to feed a large family and have leftovers.
Check out the size of this bad boy!!
You can only steam and grill zucchini so much... it was time to try out something new, unique and mouth-watering. I love fried zucchini from various restaurants but find some to be so heavily breaded and salted that it's an insult to the squash. After scouring the Internet for zucchini recipes that are light and flavorful with out too much salt, I found one that would work for me...... after I made some adjustments to suit my taste. After all, recipes to me are just a template to work with. My husband calls it "Lorifying"  or the "Lorification of a Recipe" but I must put my own spin on it.

Zesty Fried Zucchini 
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
ground black pepper to taste
3 zucchinis, sliced
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup vegetable oil for frying
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
salt to taste

For nutrition information, click the magic button
Mix bread crumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, parsley, red pepper and black pepper in a bowl. Dip zucchini slices into eggs, then press into bread crumb mixture, shaking off excess. Place the breaded zucchini onto a plate in one layer. Do not stack them since you want to keep each piece breaded evenly.

I bought this cool item from Pampered Chef that is specifically designed for the "dip and bread" process. They're called the Coating Trays and they connect together so they stay together. This is awesome and it simplified the process for me as well as kept all the "parts" in their places. 
Heat vegetable oil in a large and deep skillet over medium heat. Fry breaded zucchini in hot oil in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes (or longer if you cut them thick); transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or cooling rack. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese and salt.
These were wonderful! The Parmesan cheese gave it a salty flavor without being overpowering. The crushed red pepper made the sticks say "hello" in my mouth. Gave it just the zest it needed. Best part is the recipe does not weigh down the squash with all that batter you sometimes get when ordering out. It was quite light and the flavor of the squash was the star of the show.  I made a dipping sauce from mayonnaise, spicy ranch dressing, garlic powder and parsley that just complimented the sticks. 
The cool thing is you can substitute fat free Parmesan and use egg beaters for the egg portion. Cuts calories, sodium and fat from the recipe.

This recipe was featured March 29, 2013 at Home Cooking Memories
Weekend Kitchen Link Party
Featured on The Lovebugs Blog Sidedish Round-up: Zucchini April 25, 2013

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