It is getting to be zucchini time!
For any of you home-gardeners out there, you know what I mean when I say zucchini invasion! It can become somewhat ridiculous the amount of squash just one of these plants can produce. Thankfully, I never get tired of zucchini. From blossom to fruit; there is so much you can do with this prolific summer squash. Remember this the next time your well-intentioned neighbor comes over with a basket of zucchini.
Look for firm and heavy zucchini with shiny, bright green skin, about 6-8 inches long and 2 inches or less in diameter. Occasionally, you will miss a few out in the garden and they will grow to gargantuan size if you let them. Unfortunately, those are only good for using as baseball bats or as the butt of silly jokes. Save larger ones for stuffing, after you remove the seeds, or for shredding, when making bread. If you are not growing your own, look for locally grown organic zucchini at the farmer's market, or grocer. Avoid flabby, wrinkly zukes as these have been sitting for a while.
Zucchini are very low in calories and contain no saturated fats or cholesterol and the peel is a good source of dietary fiber - this is why organic is preferable - keep that peel on! It is a decent source of Potassium and Vitamins A, B-complex and C. Most importantly, zucchini is really versatile and very kid-friendly!
This recipe is great for a snack or as a side dish and is so simple to make. Feel free to customize the seasonings to suit, or substitute your favorite dipping sauce.
Baked Zucchini Fries with Spicy Dipping Sauce
4 - 6 small/medium zucchini, washed and ends trimmed
2 large eggs 2 Tablespoons milk
3/4 cup panko
3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs (I make my own, store-bought is ok too)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiana cheese
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon lemon zest
sea salt/fresh black pepper
Spicy Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup good-quality mayonnaise
1-2 Tablespoons of Sriracha
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with foil/parchment, then lightly oil with a bit of olive oil.
Cut zucchini in half crosswise, and then cut into sticks/wedges, roughly 1/2" thick x 1/2" wide. Set aside on paper-towel lined plate.
Beat egg with milk in a large, shallow bowl or pie plate.
Mix panko, bread crumbs, cheese, garlic, paprika and lemon zest in another large shallow bowl, or pie plate.
Dip a few zucchini sticks at a time into egg mixture, allowing excess egg to drip off into plate. Then dip into crumb mixture, making sure to coat all sides thoroughly.
Place breaded fries on prepare baking sheet without over-crowding. Repeat with remaining zucchini.
When you are finished breading the zucchini, season the fries with some salt/pepper and then place them into the oven. Bake until golden-brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, turn fries over gently with spatula, and continue to bake until golden brown on other side, about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, transfer to serving platter and serve with dipping sauce alongside.