Friday, August 5, 2011

Zucchini Fries

The zucchini was out in force at the farmers market this week so we picked up a big bag.  We set some aside to use during the week then sliced, diced or shredded the rest and froze for future use.

We began working our way through our stash, by making zucchini fries.  As a kid I  loved zucchini fritters.  My mom didn't cook fried foods very often and these were a summer treat I looked forward to.  I am following in my mother's footsteps and avoid making fried food as much as possible - I always burn it and the house always stinks, but every summer I begin craving fritters. When I saw this  recipe over at Betty Crocker I knew I had to give it a try, it sounded super yummy, a great alternative to my much desired fritters and a perfect recipe to do with the kids.  My kids love breading and coating items and since there are three steps it is a wonderful activity to do with all three kids.  They each get their own station, which eliminates some fighting,  but they still have to work together.  Once we get past the arguments over who will man which station they take great pride in assembling their individual mixture and  show great enthusiasm thoroughly dredging each item.
I made a couple of alterations to the recipe.  First, I didn't have enough panko crumbs so I added Ritz crackers to the mixture which helped to give the fries a nice sweetness. Secondly, I added a little lemon pepper seasoning to the breading mixture.  Over at Betty Crocker they recommend serving this with a lemon yogurt dipping sauce.  I didn't have the yogurt to make the sauce so I added the lemon flavor to the breading mixture.  I would like to try the sauce, it sounds super yummy, but I don't think the fries really need anything. We had these last night with burgers - corn on the cob and our own homegrown tomatoes, it was a wonderful summer dinner - and a basil mayonnaise.  I tried a little of the mayo with the fries, it went well,  but I think these are great on their own. They are juicy, crunchy and super flavorful - a perfect little bundle of summer yumminess.



Zucchini Fries   (Printer Ready)


¾ c. Panko bread crumbs
½ c. crushed Ritz crackers½ c.  Finely shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. Finely diced fresh herbs (basil, oregano and/or thyme)
1 tsp. Lemon Pepper seasoning (or lemon zest)
½ tsp. Salt
¼ c. All-purpose flour
2 Eggs, beaten with 1 tsp. water
2 lbs. zucchini, cut into thick strips

Directions
Preheat oven 350. Lightly oil cookie sheet.
In small bowl combine bread crumbs, crackers, cheese, herbs and lemon pepper seasoning (or zest).  

Line up 3 shallow dishes, place flour in first dish, eggs in second, and bread crumb mixture in third.  Thoroughly dredge each zucchini strip. Start with the flour, then dip in egg, followed by bread mixture. 
Place coated strips on cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden.