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Cooking with David


Copyright © 2014, 2016 by David E. Ross

Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks

I adapted this recipe from one I saw in an online edition of the Saskatoon (Canada) Star Phoenix. This recipe also works quite well with crook-neck summer squash. For a larger serving, combine one zucchini and one crook-neck squash.

1 large or 2 small very fresh zucchini
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup shredded cheese
olive oil or parchment paper

a large, rimmed cookie sheet

Peel the zucchini. Cut off the stem and blossom ends. Cut across in half; then cut lengthwise in half. Cut each piece again lengthwise, either in half or thirds depending on the size of the pieces.

Place the cut zucchini in a Ziplock bag with the flour, garlic powder, and a few grinds from a pepper mill. Seal the bag. Turning and shaking the bag, make sure to coat all the zucchini pieces with flour. Let the zucchini stand in the bag while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Break the egg into a shallow bowl. Using half of the egg shell as a measure, add water. Mix thoroughly.

On a rimmed plate, mix the bread crumbs, paprika, and cheese.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heavily grease the cookie sheet with olive oil or line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Remove one piece of zucchini from the bag at a time, and dip it in the egg to coat thoroughly. Then roll it in the bread crumb mixture, and place it on the cookie sheet. Be sure not to allow two pieces to touch each other on the cookie sheet.

When all the zucchini is on the cookie sheet and the oven has reached 450°F, place the cookie sheet in the oven. Bake for 12-16 minutes.

The original recipe in the newspaper called for a dipping sauce of mayonnaise, lemon juice, and paprika; a later version in the same newspaper suggested a spicy tomato aioli. Serving this as a side dish during dinner, no sauce was required; but I moved the paprika into the bread crumbs.

The original recipe called for grated Parmesan cheese. I used "quattro formaggio" — a pre-shredded blend of Parmesan, asiago, fontina, and provolone — from a local grocery. I found I got a better result if I spread the cheese on a cutting board and used a sharp knife to cut the shreds into much smaller pieces.

The original recipe also called for panko crumbs; but I used our accumulated dried bread crumbs, extended with almond meal.

During the breading, I took a piece of zucchini from the bag with my left hand and dropped it into the egg. I turned the zucchini with my right hand in the egg to coat it thoroughly. Then I continued to use my right hand to roll the zucchini in the bread crumb mixture and place it on the cookie sheet. This kept the egg and crumbs out of the bag.

The finished zucchini is crispy on the outside and quite soft — almost creamy — on the inside. To make it even more crispy, turn the partially cooked pieces when they are half-done.

Do NOT reheat left-overs in a microwave oven, which would make the result somewhat soggy. Reheat in a 350°F regular oven.

This recipe can also be used with a peeled eggplant.

Serves two.

31 August 2014
Updated 11 November 2016

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