It is definitely that time of year when zucchini is in full bloom. So far, I have received one or more of this veggie at work, from Mr. FeistyEats work place and at the Farmer’s Market. I can remember my Mom eating zucchini when I was little. Her and my grandmother liked it dredged in flour and fried in butter or oil if I remember? I always thought it was gross. But as an adult, I have come to appreciate its (mild) flavor. It is generally a savory dish but can also be served as a sweet dish in desserts. Recently, I have enjoyed slicing it into long strips, seasoning them with olive oil and seasoned salt and grilling them. Mr. FeistyEats isn’t crazy about them.
I came across a recipe in the Fargo Forum for zucchini fries. With a name like that, I figured they were fried. Of course, I am a fan of fried foods, but we know how unhealthy they can be and how bad they can stink up your house. As I read on, I saw the article was by Sue Doeden, a local chef in Minnesota, and I have used recipes from her before. These fries were baked, not fried. I knew I’d give them a try.
I got this big bad boy from a co-worker! I halved the recipe and just used most of the portion on the right. The left side is TBD…maybe a dessert?
I peeled off the skin with a veggie peeler. I saw in Sue’s article she left the skin on – whatever you prefer. I also used a mandolin to slice my zucchini because 1) I am lazy and 2) I had it out already.
Assemble your ingredients and stations for breading…egg, flour and bread crumbs with seasoning. In the meantime, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 375*. The recipe called for 350* but I wanted to ensure I got a CRUNCH on my fries. I cannot stand a soggy vegetable when they are supposed to be crisp. Mr. FeistyEats has asked me why I use parchment. For me, it equals easy clean-up and a longer shelf life for my pans that I adore.
Get your breading stations in order. On the left: WRONG! On the right, right…from left to right. Do you follow? I don’t. Flour, then egg, then bread crumbs. There you go!
My only complaint is my fingers got pretty messy during the breading process. You can expect that though. Fill up your sheet!
This is what they look like done. You can see a few spots were messed up from my messy fingers. BUT, you can also see they are browned and crisp!
You can see the brown crispiness a little better here. I loved these and will make them again. I would recommend adding seasoning to your bread crumbs. Lawry’s, garlic, etc. Also, serve them with a dipping sauce: Ranch dressing, ketchup, BBQ sauce, honey mustard…whatever floats your boat. The mandolin left these pieces thin, so a thicker matchstick might be preferred if you like more zucchini in each bite.
Here is what Sue has to say about the zucchini fries and some cooking suggestions. My notes are in italics. Thanks for sharing the recipe Sue Doeden!
Baked Zucchini Fries
- 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (I used Lawry’s seasoned salt and garlic powder)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs (I added a bit of water as well, about 1 Tbsp. for 2 eggs)
- 3 to 5 small or medium zucchini
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I baked at 375*.
Cut zucchini lengthwise into pieces 2 inches long and ¼ inch thick. I used a mandolin and cut them in rounds.
In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Place the flour in another bowl. Beat the eggs in a third bowl.
Using a fork or tongs, dip zucchini sticks first in flour, then in beaten eggs, then roll in the bread crumb mixture.
Lay pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes, until coating is crisp and brown. Serves 6. I flipped half way through. I also cut the recipe in half since Mr. FeistyEats isn’t a fan and I ate them all. In one sitting. Oops.
Recipe from “Flavors of the Arboretum: 101 Tastes of the Season,” Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 2011”
Tips from the cook – Sue, not me!
- Add more flavorful punch to these fries by adding garlic powder and cayenne pepper to the bread crumb mixture. I also added some minced fresh oregano to the bread crumbs and sprinkled more fresh oregano over the baked fries before serving.
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese scattered over the baked fries adds nice flavor as well as a little bit of saltiness.
- Panko, light and flaky Japanese-style bread crumbs, are a nice alternative to the more traditional fine bread crumbs.
- “Flavors of the Arboretum: 101 Tastes of the Season” can be purchased in the gift shop at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum or online at www.arboretum.umn.edu/giftstore.aspx. You may also call the Arboretum to order a book, (952) 443-1439.
- Serve with dipping sauce you prefer…Enjoy!