Friday, July 1, 2011

Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks

For a girl who doesn't like zucchini, I've been eating quite a bit of it lately. I've come to accept its presence in stir fries, mixed in with other things I actually like. And it was recently brought to my attention that it is delicious when fried.

Of course, deep frying is not my thing. Using that much oil seems like a waste, and I get enough fat in my diet. But this recipe captures a bit of the crunch of a fried treat without the extra oil. These zucchini sticks are battered, breaded and baked in the oven. The resulting texture is not as crunchy as a truly fried item, but pleasing enough that I kept coming back for more.

If you, too, have zucchini coming out your ears at the moment, this is a fun new way to prepare it!

Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks
Adapted from Cooking Light's Way to Cook Vegetarian.

1 1/2 lb zucchini
1 c dry breadcrumbs
1/2 c panko
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2-3 eggs (how many depends on the size of your eggs and the generosity of your dipping)
cooking spray (I used an olive oil one)

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Cut zucchini in half crosswise and cut each half lengthwise into eight to twelve wedges (depends on the thickness of your zucchini - I used two very fat ones, so I went with twelve).

Combine bread crumbs, panko, cheese, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Add your egg to another shallow dish and whisk (I used one egg at a time, in case just one was enough). Take a wire cooling rack, coat it with baking spray, and place it over a baking sheet (to catch the crumbs).

Dip your zucchini into the egg mixture, then dredge in the bread crumb mixture. Place finished zucchini on the wire rack. Once they are all breaded (or, at least, your first batch - we had two batches), coat the whole tray with cooking spray once again (this is what will allow them to get a little crispy). Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve immediately (they get cold quickly, although I ate them that way, too!) with tomato sauce for dipping.

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