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Baked zucchini fries

September 29, 2010

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French fries are good. There’s no denying that. Bake them in the oven instead of frying them, and your side dish just got a little healthier. Use zucchini instead of potatoes, and you’ve upped the healthiness factor once again.

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If you’re a gardener who grows this prolific squash, chances are you have had it coming out your ears all summer. I love zucchini, but because my garden was scaled back to containers on the patio this year, I didn’t have the benefit of walking out my back door and grabbing a fresh one off the vine. I bought two small squash (about 10 inches long) when I made chocolate zucchini bread the other day, but only wound up needing one for that recipe. This seemed like a good thing to do with the leftover zucchini.

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First, I cut the zucchini into French-fry-sized pieces. Leave the peel on, since that’s where the vitamins are. In one flat dish, I beat an egg mixed with a little oil. In another dish, I combined a cup of Panko, about 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and a sprinkling of pepper. I use Panko for just about everything. You’ll find these crisp, airy bread crumbs in the Asian food section of your grocery store. If your store doesn’t carry them, you can always use toasted bread crumbs instead. 

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I dipped the zucchini pieces into the egg mixture, then rolled them around in the Panko mixture, and placed them on a greased cookie sheet. They went into a 425 degree F. oven for about 15 minutes. Watch them closely … you want the zucchini to be tender and the bread crumbs to be crunchy, but don’t let them burn.

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The one small zucchini made enough fries for my family of five to each have enough for a side dish. They were really tasty, and the kids loved them. “You can’t even taste the zucchini,” they said. Now if we could just get the fast-food giants to start serving them, we could do away with those greasy fries altogether!

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