Meatless Monday: Individual Zucchini Parmesan

I actually planned to make a Zucchini lasagna for dinner tonight, but only realized when I got home that I’d neglected to pick up ricotta. So I whipped out my best culinary Tim Gunn and I made it work. I looked around and in a moment of clarity decided to make a zucchini parm (of sorts). It came out better than expected. I think I’ll be making it a lot. It’s a bunch of steps, so it’s not the most weeknight friendly meal ever, but it’s worth it! Please let me know if you give it a try! Here you go.

* 2 large zucchinis, cut lengthwise into about 4, 1/4-1/2-inch strips
* 1/4C flour
* 1 large egg
* 1/2C Panko breadcrumbs
* 1T dried parsley
* 1/4C grated Parmesan cheese
* olive oil
* shredded cheese (mozzarella or a blend)
* marinara sauce
* crushed red pepper flakes for topping (optional)
* additional Parmesan cheese for topping (optional)

Slice the zucchini and set aside. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.

Place the flour in one shallow dish, beat the egg in a second, and mix together the Panko, parsley, and Parmesan in a third.

Heat oil in a large pan (enough to cover the bottom of the pan completely) over medium-low heat.

Working in batches, coat each slice of zucchini first in the flour, then the egg, then the Panko mixture, and then place into the oil and fry 3-4 minutes per side, until just crispy-golden. Remove from the pan and place on the prepared baking sheet.

When you’ve initially fried all of your zucchini, turn off the stovetop and turn on the broiler. Sprinkle each piece of zucchini with a think layer of shredded cheese and then place under the broiler for no more than 30 seconds to let the cheese melt.

Remove the pan from the oven. Spread a layer of sauce over each piece of zucchini, and then another layer of cheese, and place back under the broiler for another 30 seconds, letting the cheese bubble and brown.

Serve with pasta or rice, topped with some fresh Parmesan and a pinch of crushed red pepper.

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