I’m posting this just after peak zucchini season, but zucchini are available all year so you can make this great veggie side dish anytime!
It took little to motivate me to try this, but it didn’t hurt that similar recipes were landing in my email all at the same time. From Smitten Kitchen, who in turn adapted it from the Food Network. And then another version from Bite Me More.
I suppose I have to admit that the prep is a wee bit fiddly. You have to slice the zucchini thinly and then coat each in crumbs. Just go into Zen mode and you’ll be a half hour away from a heavenly treat.
I have now made them several times, so will share the variations and what worked for me. One version coated the zucchini slices in oil before breading them, and I trusted Smitten’s advice that this was problematic re the breading not adhering. She dipped the slices into egg white first. The Bite Me sisters dipped the zucchini into milk before breading - sounds interesting but I haven’t tried that variation yet. They all have tiny variations re the ratio of bread crumbs to Parmesan. 1:1 works fine, but no worries if your mixture is a bit imprecise.
The zucchini slices work best if they are a bit less than 1/4”. I have sliced them by hand (at first being too lazy to pull out my mandolin) and this worked out fine, except that the slices will not bake up evenly if they are of differing thickness. So unless you have better slicing precision than me, or are more patient, pull out the mandolin and make all the slices the same.
preheat your oven to 450 F
mix breadcrumb mixture
prepare these close to serving time - that’s when they are best!
2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb)
As mentioned above, slice the zucchini evenly into slices a bit less than 1/4 inch. If they seem a bit wet, or you are not using them right away, spread them onto paper towels to absorb excessive moisture.
1 to 2 egg whites
1-2 tsp water
Beat the egg whites well with the water - which will help to loosen them a bit. I have always found that I need two egg whites. Tip: Did you know that egg whites freeze really well? Whenever I bake something that requires egg yolks, I freeze the whites. Let them thaw at room temperature. You can also buy egg whites in a wee carton.
1/2 - 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 - 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, salt and pepper. I aim for a 1:1 ratio of cheese to breadcrumbs, but precision is not critical. Set up a little assembly line leading to a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. For two zucchini I can fit them all onto my largest baking sheet.
Dip each slice into the egg white and then the breadcrumb mixture. In theory, you should bread both sides of the slice, but I admit I have sometimes been lazy and done only one side - in which case I place the zucchini on the bake sheet, crumb side up - AND I don’t flip them halfway. For perfection, do crumbs on both sides and flip halfway through the bake. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping them halfway. Do keep an eye on them to ensure they don’t burn.