01 August 2007
what's cooking wednesday: fried zucchini slices

On the heels of our wonderful discussion about obesity and eating healthier (most commented on post ever around here!), I'm posting a recipe that *so* doesn't qualify as healthy for this week's What's Cooking Wednesday.

I do hope that when I post such gluttonous dishes you realize that these aren't meant to be eaten every day--today's fried zucchini slices, for example, I make once, maybe twice a year. These would be great as an appetizer at a special summer dinner party.

Anyway, remember those stuffed zucchini flowers from last week? Well now we're working with the actual fruit--yes, zucchini is technically, botanically speaking a fruit just like the tomato.

These are pretty simple, and you just might be able to slip zucchini past even the pickiest eaters.

Fried Zucchini Slices

fried zucchini slices
One large zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch slices

1 c breadcrumbs
(*not* seasoned, if seasoned, omit onion and garlic powder)

1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp grated parmiggiano cheese

1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp milk

vegetable oil for frying

Wash and cut zucchini slices, leaving skin on. You can slice them thinner than what I recommend, but then you lose the zucchini flavor--thicker slices, of course, would give you even more zucchini bang for your euro (or whatever currency you're currently using).

Combine egg, salt, and milk in small shallow bowl. Mix together bread crumbs, onion and garlic powder, and cheese in a separate small shallow bowl.

Dip zucchini slices in egg and then coat well with bread crumb mixture. Be sure to keep them separated from one another until you're ready to fry (avoid stacking).

Fry zucchini slices in hot vegetable oil until golden brown and then let cool on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

These are best served warm so if you won't be serving right away, I suggest keeping them warm in the oven.

Buon appetito!

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41 Comments:

Anonymous jessica in rome said...
Blogger qualcosa di bello said...

gosh, this & fried green tomatos are 2 of my favorite fried things (i'm not a fried potatos or fried meat kinda gal). thanks for adding to my recipe collection of "things i will make over the next 2+ weeks while my in-laws are visiting"! between you & shan i about have the menu nailed! :)

Blogger Ally Bean said...

Yum diddly yum. I haven't had fried zucchini in years and suddenly after reading this I NEED to have some very soon. Thanks for the recipe and the reminder.

Anonymous My Melange said...

Sognatrice,

You have no idea what good/bad memories you have brought to the surface. Every summer, my Mom would plant zucchini in the garden and for weeks on end, this is what she would make for dinner. For all of us....with nothing else...just fried zucchini! She loved..loved..loved them! Problem is the rest of us HATED them....so for weeks in the summer we had to starve or fend for ourselves because no one else would eat her flippin' fried zucchini.

I have since warmed up to them a bit, though still not my fav. Thanks for the post ;)

Blogger Hyde DP said...

would you have this for breakfast?

Anonymous Heather said...

OH! Fried zucchini makes my heart happy!!! I have to remember to make this sometime soon, thanks!

Blogger sognatrice said...

Jessica, I'm going to have to agree with you there ;)

Qualcosa, glad to help out with the menu; I hope you'll have a full report at some point!

Ally, not sure if I should say "you're welcome" or "sorry" for reminding you--but I hope you do enjoy them if you do end up having these :)

My Melange, that's too funny; sometimes those bittersweet memories are really the best, aren't they? I'm thinking of how my mother used to torture me with the Hallelujah Chorus at Christmas time...then it started to grow on me...now I can't help but smile when I hear it (especially when, oddly enough, P randomly hums it--weird!).

Hyde, hah! Good question. I'll have pretty much anything for breakfast so long as it's easy to slap together--so, I suppose if someone had these fried up and waiting for me, I'd dig in!

Heather, I'm happy that your heart's happy :)

Blogger Figs Olives Wine said...

Looks absolutely delicious & addictive!

Blogger Giulia said...

OK, even if you didn't state what was underneath all that fried bread, I would eat it because just the sight of fried breaded ANYTHING makes my mouth water! lol

See? I might even eat more veggies...if they were deep fried. Ha! I'm noot a zucchini eater...yes, I know, bad Italian! :-) I'll eat pretty much any fruit out there, but only about 10 different veggies -- mostly those that typically are found in a salad bar.

Christina

See? I might even eat more veggies...if they were deep fried. Ha! I'm noot a zucchini eater...yes, I know, bad Italian! :-) I'll eat pretty much any fruit out there, but only about 10 different veggies -- mostly those that typically are found in a salad bar.

Christina

Apparently I felt so strongly about this I posted twice. ;-) Sorry about that!

Christina

Anonymous Tina said...

You know, more often than not, your blog sort of guides the direction of my Wednesday meals... ;-) Those look delicious!

I love zucchini. This looks so good and it's simple.

Oooooooooohhh.

Yum.

My local Italian restaurant has gotten used to seeing me on Wednesdays now.

Do you share these treats with Luna and Leonardo?

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Blogger Jen said...

These look wonderful. I've been having some wonderful zucchini dishes too, lately, as it is prime season. Check out my recipes from Monday - most are pretty healthy and good!

On my next recipe post (I only get to them once in a while), I'll have a few zucchini things.

Blogger sognatrice said...

Figs, it *is* rather hard for me to eat just one or two of these, I admit ;)

Giulia, breading and frying really does make it all better, doesn't it? Really reminds me of American summers at the amusement park where we always got breaded, fried vegetables of all sorts--hey, it's slightly better than a hamburger and waffle fries, right? Maybe?

Christina, to be honest, I wasn't much of a zucchini eater either before I came here; now my neighbors give me so many that I feel guilty if I don't use them. Last year I made zucchini fritters and fried zucchini just dredged in flour as well, but these fried slices were our favorites :)

No problem on the double commenting, btw; zucchini gets us all a little edgy ;)

Tina, good thing you live near some great markets! Hope you enjoy :)

NYC, simple is right, and I really do love them cut at this size because you can taste the wonderful zucchini :)

Scarlett, well I'm sure you know that lions eat anything, so of course Leo gets his share; Luna, on the other hand, isn't a big zucchini fan--although she did rather enjoy the flowers from last week. Also, she loves watermelon. Go figure.

Jen, I'll be right over! We're just getting out of zucchini season here, but I might be able to find a few more for recipe testing ;)

Blogger Kathy said...

I just so happen to have some zucchini at home...perhaps we'll have this for dinner! Thanks!

Anonymous Joy T. said...

MMMmmmm this looks delicious! I'm copying it out right now!

Blogger darlene said...

wow, they look amazing!!....linc to my blog for today's posting!!...makes me hungry just looking at them

Blogger JennieBoo said...

YUM!

You ALWAYS have the best recipes!

Bon Appetit!

Anonymous mcewen said...

Mouthwateringly good! Everywhere I go today, there seems to be the most delicious recipes, but maybe that's because I'm food obsessed.
Best wishes

Blogger Debs said...

Those look so good!

Anonymous Enza said...

yummm that looks so good. I thought of u tonight when I made stuffed Zucchini. It wasn't suffed flowers but I found these little round zucchinis at the farmer's market and I stuffed them with rice and ground beef and cheese and added sauce on top....it was heavenly!

Anonymous Frances said...

I so love a combination of fried zucchini and eggplant slices.
I'm thinking of grandma now **sniff
Take care my dear,
Frances

Blogger Shan said...

Oh yummy. I almost licked the screnn.

Anonymous pat said...

Cuma, it makes a great parmiggiana. Try it. You can even make it into a quasi lasagna with nu' poco ricotta e ragu.

Blogger Madelyne said...

I think I'm going to have to stop visiting your blog on Wednesdays cause you're killing my diet :)

Blogger sognatrice said...

Kathy, lucky you! I hope you found something to do with those zucchini :)

Joy T, copy away! Hope you like 'em :)

Darlene, I have to say that the sunlight caught the breading in a most delicious way IMHO as well ;)

JennieBoo, I'll settle for having some of the easiest recipes around- ;)

Mcewen, I know the feeling!

Debs, thanks, and thanks for commenting :)

Enza, yum yum. You remind me that I've been hungry for stuffed eggplant lately....

Frances, mmmm, or grilled even. Love these seedy guys ;)

Shan, ew, but thanks ;)

Pat, you know I'm not really fond of either eggplant or zucchini parmesan/lasagna. Maybe I just haven't had it made correctly; must try it myself someday (when I'm inspired to turn on the oven!).

Madelyne, sorry about that, but it's only one day a week, right? Thanks for commenting :)

Anonymous Tina said...

Ok I made these. Mi Amor loved them and said that he's glad I regularly read your blog. ;-)

Blogger sognatrice said...

Tina, well I have to agree with your amor on both accounts ;)

Thanks for coming back to let me know that all went well!

Oh man...I love fried zucchini! My mom used to make fried zucchini and fried eggplant...always a family favorite. And growing up on the West Coast, they even had (and still do) fried zucchini at Carl's Jr. Yes, not low fat, but oh so good :)

Anonymous bella said...

This looks simple and delish. I usually saute zucchini with garlic in olive oil (yum). These look so good, especially with a creamy dip. *I'm unusually hungry right now*

Blogger sognatrice said...

Cowgirl, I pretty much love fried anything, and that eggplant is sounding good right now too...hmmm...

Bella, when I typed this up, I was actually envisioning a lovely ranch dip/dressing (although it's probably better that we don't have that here!). Great minds :)

Blogger Blame It on Paris said...

I thought of fried green tomatoes right away, too, Qualcosa di bello. Looks delicious!

Anonymous Sara said...

I love the photograph with the landscape in the background. Tempt us in many ways at once, why don't you! ;)

Now I'm going to say something controversial: I don't think these are inherently either good or bad for you. It's all in how you do it, and that's mostly about ingredients but also a little about technique. It's also about balance and portion control, both of which you mention.

One of the ways of the crackpot to which I alluded in the recent discussion about weight loss is fat phobia. Another one is carb phobia. The fact is, we need both to keep our engines running, carbs for quick-release energy, fat to lubricate the works, a good balance of both (with protein for slow-release energy) to maintain heart health, strength, metabolism, and the immune system. What matters most besides eating balanced meals and reasonable portion sizes generally is the kind of fat and carb you include.

I can tell you how to make these into junk food; it's quite easy. Use store-bought breadcrumbs made of high-glycemic-load refined flours and other additives and which contain superfluous salt, sugar, and saturated fat. (The pre-seasoned ones tend to be especially harmful.) Fry them in a non-nutritious oil, and don't drain and pat them down before serving. Use whole milk AND a parmesan from a can or a fattier cheese than parmeggiano you grated yourself.

Now I'm going to tell you how to make them really quite nutritious. First, look at your breadcrumbs. If you don't have breadcrumbs lying around, or if you don't save them like our grandmothers did (the ones who cooked in the old country or during the Depression, that is), find a bread in your kitchen which is made of whole or sprouted grains and has no added sugar and minimal other ingredients. Then use my friend D's ultimate breadcrumb trick: toast a couple of slices of this lovely bread, then throw the toast in the blender and grind it up until it's crumb consistency.

Now look at your oil. Go for something known to be healthful, e.g., olive oil (use extra virgin for the most olivey flavor), canola (which is almost flavorless), or even flax seed oil, which is very high in omegas and thus is a fat which is particularly nutritious.

Next, use lowfat or skim milk. Use sea salt because it has more vitamins and minerals in it, and also tastes better.

Now you have a food which is not only not inherently harmful but actually a little bit good for you -- especially when when you keep the squash slices nice and thick, but also when you're talking about one zucchini prepared this way and then split among two or more people and served with other things. (Yes, just like you said.) You know, it won't take the place of a salad, but it's a perfectly acceptable appetizer or side dish.

One further way to add nutritional value is to serve these with a fresh dipping sauce made entirely of puréed or finely chopped raw tomato and minced raw herbs, maybe a little pepper -- no added salt or sugar, because all you need is already in the tomatoes and in the batter. If you serve it with a fatty, creamy dipping sauce, like a bottled ranch or bleu cheese dressing, you're back to junk food. Fresh tomato salsa, though, or something like that -- maybe a small amount of roasted winter squash purée or mash? -- adds value by giving you extra vitamin A, and another flavor and texture, but no real caloric impact.

You see what I mean? Most recipes are like this. The act of battering and frying something, even while adding a tiny amount of cheese, is not in and of itself what makes something junk food. It's all about the ingredients, the technique, and the presentation -- but mostly the ingredients.

Pardon my pedantry. I mean to be helpful, of course. :) You know, in light of our previous conversation.

And thanks for a lovely, simple recipe.

Blogger sognatrice said...

Laura, I've yet to eat fried green tomatoes, believe it or not, but you two are really selling them....

Sara, you're very right (as always); actually the breadcrumbs I use are either ground in front of me at the store or by P (we just wait till the bread gets hard and then he gets to work on a regular old cheese grater). Of course we also grate our own cheese, and I don't even buy whole milk, so you know we're skimming around here ;) I usually use sunflower or olive oil, and, oh, the eggs are from our own chickens.

You know, you're making me feel like I should eat more of these; have I told you that I really, really like you?

Seriously, thank you so much for going through this and showing us that really, it's all about preparation and portion control--this is something that often gets lost in the shuffle of "dieting" because people get so focused on what they can and can't have. Really if you take some time and pay attention to preparation and then eat in moderation, you can have just about anything you want and still eat healthy.

Brava for pointing that out :)

Blogger Emily said...

Wow. Those look delicious!

Blogger sognatrice said...

Emily, I see you're a zucchini fan...I already liked you, but now you're definitely in ;)

Blogger Sea said...

These look so good! I have been developing a new relationship with zucchini this summer- I always hated zucchini, unless it was thinly sliced and fried in flour, but now I'm grilling them and am surprised how good they can be.

I found you from the foodie blogroll- Hi!! *Wave*

-seamaiden from www.bookofyum.com

Blogger sognatrice said...

Sea, hello! Thanks for coming over! I had a look at your place, and it's wonderful--all that gluten-free advice :)

I wanted to comment, but I didn't see a place to do so; keep cooking :)

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