Oh dear, here comes the zucchini. Last year when we grew a few plants, we couldn't give it away fast enough. Not because we didn't want it but because it was coming out of our ears! Zucchini casseroles, bread, cake, you name it. One of the things I didn't make were these zucchini sticks, something I always order when I go to an Italian restaurant.
Just yesterday I was watching Giada de Laurentis whip up a batch and decided that night to try her recipe. I made two batches. One rolling them in flour first before rolling them in eggs and panko. The other just eggs and panko (her recipe). I wanted to see if more panko would attach to the sticks after first rolling them in flour. The result? No difference. It was pretty hard for the flour to stick to the zucchini on the first roll resulting in a mess. Phew, that made my life much easier and frying these took no time at all. If you have a wok, use it.
Next time though, I think I will add finely chopped oregano to the panko mix. Also use an inexpensive olive oil or do what I did...half olive oil, half vegetable oil. Otherwise it can be an expensive proposition.
Olive oil, for frying
1 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 medium zucchini, cut into 3-inch long by 1/2-inch wide strips
Pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F.
Stir 1 1/2 cups Parmesan, the panko, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk the eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Working in batches, dip the zucchini in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat the zucchini in the panko mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the zucchini strips on a baking sheet.
When the oil is hot, about 350 on candy thermometer, working in batches, fry the zucchini sticks until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried zucchini to paper towels and drain.
Arrange the fried zucchini on a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve.
Recipe courtesy Giada de Laurentis