Today I made Zucchini Oven Fries. Yum! The crunchiness of fries but the healthiness of zucchini.

Zucchini. In the summer you can hardly give them away! Or they successfully hide under their large leaves in the garden until the seeds are bigger than your thumb! Because they are prolific and inexpensive, we enjoy them often. I look for small, tender squash in the grocery store; about 5 inches/12.5 cm long is a good size, unless you’re stuffing them. Then, larger is better.

The Italians eat not only zucchini but the yellow blossoms as well. Last year an Italian friend gave me a bag of blossoms and my daughter’s mother-in-law (Jean) and I made a video of our first (and only) attempt at Fried Zucchini Blossoms…but that’s for another blog.

One thing I like about these Zucchini Oven Fries is that once you get them in the oven, you’ve got a good 20 minutes to get the rest of dinner ready without worrying too much about them. They don’t require that you watch them like a hawk; with such a high water content they aren’t inclined to burnt. They’re nice and crispy right out of the oven…but will get limp and soft if left to cool too long, so don’t prepare them ahead of time. They’re so low in calories that you don’t need to feel guilty indulging…just go ahead and finish them off! I don’t use any fat at all in the recipe yet they get a nice, crisp crust…what could be better?

First, you’ll want to separate an egg and put the white into a shallow bowl. Give it a shake of salt and beat it a little with a fork.

Put about 1/2 C. of dry bread crumbs–use whole wheat or Panko crumbs if you prefer–and 1/4 C. of grated Parmesan or Grana Padano (poor-man’s Parmesan) cheese into another shallow bowl.

How many zucchini to use? Well, everyone’s oven is a different size and everyone’s baking sheets are different sizes…so start with cutting up 2-3 zucchini and then, if you have more room on your baking sheet, cut another one. I find the coating doesn’t adhere too well to the skins, so I trim off a tiny edge of each zucchini…

…and then cut them into slices. You can cut them into wedges if you prefer. You just want them to be pretty uniform in size.

Now I dip each slice into the beaten egg white.

DipInEgg

This gives it just enough coating so the crumbs will adhere.

Now I lay them out on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If you don’t have parchment paper, you will need to grease your baking sheet as there’s no fat in the coating to keep it from sticking.

When you’ve done as many as you want (I would figure on at least 6-8 slices per adult), the pan goes into a 400° F/200° C oven for about 15-20 minutes. Use a spatula to turn them over halfway through the baking time. While they’re in the oven, you’re making Chicken Marsala or Pasta with Cherry Tomato Pesto…but those are for future blogs! They go well with almost any meal…shake a little more salt on them, if you like. Or serve with a simple tomato sauce for dipping.

Remember, they’re good for you! Veggies…no-cholesterol egg white…a little cheese and bread crumbs. Enjoy!

Ciao!

Debbie

Zucchini Oven Fries

Zucchini Oven Fries

Ingredients

  • Several zucchini
  • 1 egg white
  • Salt
  • Dry bread crumbs
  • Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese

Instructions

  1. Separate the egg and discard the yolk. (You may use the whole egg if you prefer.) Place the egg white in a pie plate or shallow bowl; add a pinch of salt and beat lightly with a fork. Set aside.
  2. In another shallow bowl or pie plate, place some dry bread crumbs, and about half as much Parmesan cheese. Unless you're feeding an army, you won't need a lot. I generally start with 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and a 1/4 cup of Parmesan. You can add a shake of salt and dry herbs such as basil or oregano if you like. Set this mixture aside as well.
  3. Cut the zucchini into similar-size pieces or wedges. The coating doesn't adhere as well to the smooth skin as it does to the more porous zucchini itself so I usually trim off a bit of the skin on each side before slicing. If you're short on time”or don't really care about how much coating adheres, you can skip trimming the skin.
  4. Dip each slice or wedge first into the egg white and then into the crumbs. Lay the pieces on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the pan in a preheated 400° F (200° C) oven for about 15-20 minutes. Use a spatula to turn them over halfway through the baking time. Depending on your oven, you may also need to switch the baking pans halfway through the baking time: move the one on the top shelf to the bottom and vice versa.
  5. We enjoy them "as is" with perhaps a bit more salt. You can also dip them in a marinara sauce. With such a high water content in the zucchini, they will get limp after setting so don't try to prepare them ahead.
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