The memory of standing in the kitchen next to my mother, as I anxiously waited for a strip of piping hot fried zucchini, right out of the pan, still makes my mouth water. As a child, I was not a veggie lover; however, fried zucchini was the exception.
My eyes grew wide with anticipation as my mother dipped hand cut strips of zucchini in an egg and milk wash; transferred each to a plate of crushed saltines; then carefully slipped the coated slices into a cast iron skillet containing hot vegetable oil.
Fried zucchini was not a quick dish to prepare and my youthful impetuousness was challenged. Mother patiently waited until the underside of the zucchini was cooked to perfection, and then gently turned each piece over with a fork to cook the other side to a uniform toasty brown crispness. Impatient, I tugged on my mother’s apron, “Mommie, are they ready yet?”
Not yet Bernadine, you have to wait until they are golden brown on both sides.”
My anticipation rose until the zucchini slices were lifted out of the pan and placed on paper towels to absorb the excess oil. I did not care if the steaming zucchini was hot to the touch; I could not resist grabbing piece after piece, right off the paper towel as quick as my mother took them out of the pan.
Today, I have expanded my vegetable repertoire and still enjoy zucchini, but with a slightly different twist on my mother’s recipe. For slicing, I use a mandolin for uniform thickness; substitute Panko crumbs for saltines; add grated Parmesan cheese to the mix; eliminate the milk in the egg wash; and bake instead of fry. Even though my recipe is more calorie friendly, it still brings back happy childhood memories.
Two medium-large zucchini (with skin)
½ cup Panko crumbs
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Set mandolin to ¼ inch, slice zucchini into lengthwise strips.
Whisk eggs in a shallow dish.
Combine Panko crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese in a large shallow dish.
Dip zucchini slices in egg and coat each side with Panko-cheese mixture, pressing firmly for coating to adhere.
Place slices on non-stick sprayed cookie sheet.
Bake in 425-degree pre-heated oven 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Serve immediately. Yield one serving.
Note: Recipe can be doubled.
Optional: Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy.
Bernadine Chapman-Cruz is a contributing writer for Big Monkey Group Publications. Raised in Stockton, she lives in Lodi with her husband, a cat named “L” and dog, “Forest.” She enjoys writing, cooking and dining out.