When I was growing up, I HATED zucchini. It might have just been the way my parents cooked it- normally stir-frying vegetables is great, but in this case it made the zucchini mushy and the texture was just not something I found palatable. My parents, however, always made me try one bite of everything on my plate, and while I never learned to like zucchini the way they cooked it, it did teach me to never give up on something. Many years later when I was living on my own, I figured I should give it another shot, and eventually discovered this recipe.
3-4 medium sized zucchini (green or yellow)
grated Parmesan cheese
seasoned salt or salt & pepper
Large mixing bowl
Smalle mixing bowl
Pie pan or flat dish
Rinse the zucchini with water; some versions of this recipe will also have you peel them, although I don't think that's necessary. Leaving the skin on just changes the mouthfeel a little.
Cut the stems and bottoms off the zucchini, and cut them in half crosswise.
Slice each piece lengthwise, and then cut into wedges.
You can cut the zucchini into whatever size pieces you feel works best- I started out just slicing the thinner ends into quarters, and eventually did the thicker ends in a mix of 1/6ths and 1/8ths (slice each half in half, and then in half again). If you don't feel like trying to make wedges, you can also just do round slices about 1/2 inch thick.
Prepare to coat the zucchini. Almost always I recommend using fresh ingredients, however this is one of the few cases where I prefer to use pre-grated Parmesan- the stuff you get in the store is a lot finer than I can make at home, and blends better with the breadcrumbs.
Anyway, mix 2/3rds of a cup of breadcrumbs, 1/3rd of a cup of Parmesan cheese, and 2 teaspoons seasoned salt (or 1 teaspoon regular salt and few shakes of pepper) in a small bowl.
Place your zucchini in the large mixing bowl and pour a few tablespoons worth of oil over them. Use either your hands or a plastic spatula to toss the zucchini, making sure it is well coating.
I've also seen versions of this recipe that coat the zucchini in scrambled egg or melted butter, but in my opinion olive oil works fine and is the easiest to deal with.
Pour some of the breadcrumb mixture onto the plate and then set yourself up a little assembly line with the zucchini on one side, the baking tray on the other, and breadcrumbs in the middle. Take a few piece of zucchini at a time and dredge them completely in the breadcrumbs. Just use your fingers to make sure each piece is well coated- it's way harder to keep clean at this stage than to just wash you hands off afterwards.
Also, now is probably a good time to preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread out the breaded zucchini on the baking tray. Use two trays if you have to- I crammed them together a little close here just because I was being lazy. Put the zucchini in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. I also turned the broiler on high for the last few minutes to brown them up a little, but if you do this be sure to keep a close on them. Your oven's broiler can burn things in a real hurry.
And that's basically it. Maybe these aren't a perfect replacement for regular fries alongside a double bacon-cheeseburger, but if you're struggling to get your kids to eat their veggies, there are worse things you could do than hide them under a pile of breadcrumbs and cheese.
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