Sunday, September 16, 2012

Italian Fried Zucchini

Although not a bumper crop, my zucchini is finally gaining momentum!  Apparently, the "farmer" who grew the zucchini for this recipe did have a bumper crop of gigantic foot long squash.   I like to  use those big ones for shredding to put into a zucchini bread recipe.  1/2 of one went to the previous chocolate zucchini cake while a whole zucchini, along with an eggplant, was fried up with an Italian twist.

I know there's a healthier way to prepare this, but why ruin a good thing.  Just don't eat it as often.  It is time consuming, so not for beginners unless you like a good challenge.  The key is to set up a "work station" so it flows better.  From right to left, picture this.  (I guess a picture would have been nice, huh?)  Next time I make this, I'll take a picture of the "work station".

In a column I have the sliced zucchini or eggplant in a bowl or plate waiting to be cooked.  Below that, a pie plate size dish containing the beaten egg.  Lastly, below the egg is a pie plate of flour.  On the stove top is a 12 inch frying pan you'll cook the zucchini in.  To the left of that will be a saucepan with your favorite marinara sauce.  To the left of the sauce will be a casserole dish waiting for the finished product.  Below that will be a plate covered with paper towels.  After you fry the zucchini, place on the paper towels to absorb some of the oil.  The last container on the left will be some grated Parmesan or Romano cheese for garnish. 

Now you've got the idea!  Take zucchini and dredge in egg, then flour and place in the heated pan with the oil in it.  When done on both sides, remove the zucchini to the paper towels, blotting (gently pressing down).  Leave there to start the process over with more zucchini.  When that batch goes into the pan, remove the absorbing ones to the casserole dish placing a layer at a time, salt and pepper, smear a dollop of marinara on top and a sprinkle of cheese.  Whew!  I never said this would be easy, but tastes so good.

NOTE: About half way through the frying process the oil turns a yucky brown.  This is when I remove from the heat, cool the pan down and pour the drippings into a "safe place" (old coffee can) and wipe the pan to remove the rest of the yucky.  Pour more oil into the pan, heat up and your ready for the second half.

So, have I lost you yet?  If not, here are the ingredients:

1 large zucchini or eggplant, sliced into 1/4 inch thickness rounds.  I don't peel the zucchini, but I do peel the eggplant.  

2-3 eggs, beaten  Sometimes when I cook the eggplant only,  I can get away with 2 eggs.

About 1-2 cups flour  Again, you may start out with 1 cup and need to add more flour.

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil   I start with covering the bottom of the pan - about 1/8 inch and may need to add more between batches.  Eggplant absorbs the oil like a sponge, it seems.

1 - 1 1/2 cups marinara

1/2 cup or more of grated cheese - Parmesan or Romano

Okay, so this sounds a bit like rocket science but I can do this process in my sleep by now.  Hey, I'm married to a wonderful Italian man.  He likes his zucchini and eggplant Parmesan.  His mother would make it for the family and he'd bring his eggplant sandwiches for school lunch only to get them stolen.  It's that good and ALWAYS better the next day.  Enjoy.

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