Monday, August 20, 2012

Baked Zucchini Fries

We have this little raised rock garden in the back yard.  It's what I'd like to call small, but mighty.  This year has probably been the best for produce so far, and if there is one vegetable out there that loves growing for us more than any other, it has got to be zucchini, hands down.

I'm not the only one zucchini grows well for.  There are rumors and legends about people in rural areas locking their cars at the store and in church parking lots throughout the month of August, not to deter crime, but to avoid coming back to find sacks of giant zucchinis in their back seat!!  We've tried many a zucchini muffin and fritter recipe last year, but the best thing I've found to do with them, is make a big golden crispy plate of baked zucchini fries!  That's right people I said baked!  No deep fryer needed, you can make this in your oven later tonight!  It might even be... wait for it... Healthy! 

Don't pay $11.00 at a restaurant for this tasty crowd-pleasing appetizer, whip a batch up at home!
First, assemble your ingredients:  (Printable recipe found here)

The original recipe for these zucchini fries is found by the gals over at our best bites, here
1 lb of zucchini
Italian style Panko bread crumbs
Grated Parmesean cheese (not the shredded kind)
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
cooking spray & a cookie sheet lined with foil
salt and pepper to taste or seasoning salt
*Preheat your oven to 425º before prepping the zucchini

Take the zucchini and cut off the ends.  Peel with a vegetable peeler.  Note: there are those of you that like to leave the skin on, which is fine. If that is the case wash the outside well and continue on.  I however, knew that a striking dark "green" color on the outside might make the kids not want to eat it, so I'm making these look as pale and "french fry-ee" as possible.

Amazing action shot of a zucchini being peeled.
Now that you have your zucchini all good and (optionally) naked, chop it in half

Now if your zucchini is small, you can cut the whole things into planks (to be shown in a second). But if you have a giant baseball bat sized zucchini that hid under the leaves until the very last minute and then jumped out and surprised the bajezus out of you when spotted it, well then you might want to do what I did.  The center of the big'uns (as I like to call them) have a soft, spongy texture and are full of seeds. I decided to cut planks around the center, leaving a square core (much like I cut apples matter of fact)

Once you get your planks in order you can cut them in half again (as I did here) to make finger length fries.  

Does the term, finger-length fries creep you out a little  like it does me? Okay.  Good.

Next start slicing the planks into even fry shapes.  You can go at your own discretion here but it should be noted that the thinner the fry shape, the less like zucchini it will taste.  The thicker the fry, the more zucchini flavor will come through.  We decided to make ours a little on the thin side.

Turn all of your planks into a nice pile of fries, and try to get them all the same relative thickness if you can

Next you want to get a zip top 1 gallon sized plastic bag and put the 1/4 cup of flour in it and drop all the zucchini fries in there.  Seal the top and shake everything around until they are all coated with flour

shake shake shake... shake shake shake... shake your zucchini... shake your zucchini....
Now comes the exciting part... the dipping assembly line!  One one plate put a mixture of the Italian seasoned Panko bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese.

The original recipe calls for exact amounts of these, but it's more casual then that, just pour a pile of each and mix
Get a shallow pie pan and crack/mix two eggs for the "wash" part of the dip process.  Set it all up in a line so you have your bag of fries, then your egg wash, then your breadcrumb/Parmesan mixture, and at the end the pan lined with foil and doused with cooking spray.

Henry Ford would be so proud of your assembly line...
Now.. we DIP!  Drop a fry in the egg wash and flip around until all sides are covered.  Right after that, put it into the crumb/cheese mixture and roll around until the coating sticks to the egg wash.  Be sure to only pull out SOME of your crumb mixture at a time. The egg covered fry is sticky and will make your crumbs lumpy after a while.  Just pull a small pile of crumbs over to work with and add more as needed.

During this process your dippin' hand will start to get all goopy (I do all the messy work with one hand, leaving the other one dry to answer the phone, pat children on the head, etc).  Soon you your fingers will look very monster-esque with coating dripping off of them like zombie hands.  I keep a paper towel near by to wipe off the excess and keep on dipping.  Place all finished fries on the foil-lined pan.  

These look good enough to eat right now... but I promise baking will make them SO worth the wait

Now you are ready to throw them in your oven that has been preheating at 425º. Bake the fries for 12 minutes on one side, pull them out, sprinkle a bit of seasoning salt or salt and pepper then turn them all over.  Cook another 12 minutes on the other side and they are done!  Test one when they come out to see if they need any more seasoning, then pile them on a plate near you!

Serve with a side of ranch dip or heat up some spaghetti sauce or marinara for dipping
These turned out really really good. The insides were creamy and tender, the outsides were crispy and crunchy. They were so good that two thirds of my children ate them, nay devoured them... and even declared them delicious!  Half of us enjoyed dipping them in ranch dressing, the other half dipped in some warmed up marinara sauce.

So if you don't have a garden, you might want to start leaving your car doors unlocked in hopes that the overabundant zucchini fairy will visit you soon!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...