Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zucchini Parmesan

Every summer my friend Katherine manages to grow the most amazing huge zucchini.  They are truly obscene in more ways then one.  Luckily they are still delicious.  Last summer I created, a Zucchini-Tomato Gratin, a Chocolate Zucchini Bread and a Savory Zucchini Bread with Katherine's massive squash.  This summer I decided in spite of the heat to try something I have been itching to try with Katherine's zucchini.  Because of its size I thought this zucchini would lend itself well to being a replacement for eggplant in Eggplant Parmesan.  It worked beautifully and we could not get enough of this recipe.  I oven-fried the zucchini in an effort to save myself some clean-up.  I got lucky and the oven did not end up too splattered.  When you have a moment, please check out Katherine's blog, Artist of Being Alive.

2 pounds large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
6 large eggs
3 1/2 cups plain Panko breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups Parmesan Cheese
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups My Veggie Table Basic Marinara Sauce, pureed smooth
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Toss the zucchini with 1 teaspoons salt and set in a colander to to drain for 40 minutes. It is best to do this in two batches or better yet, two colanders. Pat the zucchini dry with paper towels or clean tea towels to remove any excess moisture. 
  2. Meanwhile adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower-middle positions, place the a rimmed cookie sheet on each rack and preheat the oven to 425°. 
  3. Combine the flour and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large zipper lock bag and shake to combine.  Beat the eggs in a shallow dish.  Combine the breadcrumbs, 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a second shallow bowl.
  4. Working with small batches of the zucchini, place them in the bag and shake to coat with the flour.  Remove the zucchini, shaking off any access flour, and dip the zucchini into the eggs.  Remove the zucchini from the eggs, allowing any access to drip off, and then coat evenly with the breadcrumb mixture.  Lay the breaded zucchini on a wire rack until all are completely breaded.  Coat the remaining zucchini in the same manner. 
  5. Carefully remove the cookie sheets from the oven.  Pour 3 tablespoons of oil onto each cookie sheet, tilting the pan to evenly coat with the oil.  Spread the breaded zucchini in a single layer onto the cookies sheets. Be careful as the cookie sheets will be very hot! Place the cookies sheets back into the oven and bake the zucchini for 10 minutes.  Flip the zucchini slices over and then switch and rotate the cookie sheets and continue to bake them for 10 minutes longer. DO NOT turn off the oven when done oven-frying the zucchini.
  6. Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Shingle half the zucchini slices over the sauce.  Distribute 1 more cup of sauce over the zucchini slices, followed by 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese.  Shingle the remaining zucchini slices in the dish, and dot them with another cup of the sauce so that much of the zucchini is exposed.  Tops this with the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese and with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. 
  7. Place the dish in the lower-middle rack of the oven and back for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling.  Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese as your serve.  Serve the remaining marinara sauce on the side. 

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