I love zucchini. I love it in this amazing Summertime Primavera, I love it au gratin (thanks HomeChef!), and I really like zoodles. One of these days I’ll show you how to make zucchini noodles that aren’t mushy and soggy, and that taste wonderful with some Italian meat sauce or with a lightened up version of Chicken Picatta (it was SO GOOD!).
Lately, I love it breaded with panko and parmesan, then baked to perfection. These things are good. Have you ever ordered fried zucchini at a restaurant, and then dipped it in ranch? They’re that good. Better, even, because they have a flavor other than oil! We had these as a side to steaks and garlic rosemary potatoes this week, and they were the perfect compliment!
The trick with baking something that’s usually fried is the color and the crunch–no matter how long I baked my parmesan tilapia, it never picked up the golden, crispy color that it would have if it was pan fried. Thankfully, a few weeks ago, I found the answer.
You guys, it’s so easy. I’m so embarrassed that I didn’t think of this by myself.
You just toast the breadcrumbs.
Here’s how it goes.
Take your panko breadcrumbs and a small frying pan. Add some garlic salt (not too much! It took me a few tries to get this right. Remember that the parmesan is already salty!) and some Italian Seasoning, and toast it over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. When it’s done, it’ll look something like this.
With this one super-simple extra step, you’ve solved the lack of color and crisp problem, and you’ve added a whole new level of flavor.
Toss the seasoned breadcrumbs with an equal amount of shredded parmesan cheese. You’ll need two bowls for this: one for the breadcrumbs and parmesan, and one for 2 beaten eggs.
Cut about a pound of zucchini into wedges.
Dip each piece of zucchini into the egg, let it drip off a bit, and then coat it in the breadcrumb/parmesan mixture. Discard the extra breadcrumb mixture when you’re done.
Place skin-side down on a greased baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Check them with a fork after 10–how quickly they cook will depend on the size of your zucchini. Mine were a pound each, so it took the full 20 minutes. If you start with a smaller zucchini, they’ll be done much quicker!
When you’re testing, you’re checking the doneness of the zucchini. The color changes some in the oven, but not a lot, so it’s not a very good marker.
Panko? Can’t I use whatever breadcrumbs I have on hand? Of course! Panko is my preference, so it’s what I always use. It’s a bit crunchier than what you’ll typically find. Use whatever you have on hand, and it should turn out fine.
Can I use powdered/pre-shredded parmesan cheese? Yep! I use freshly shredded parmesan cheese, but this is one recipe where you can probably get away with whatever kind of parmesan cheese you have on hand. The powdered stuff might even stick better! If that’s what you use, hold off on adding the salt until you’ve combined the breadcrumbs and parmesan and had a chance to taste it.
Give it a shot with dinner tonight! I can’t wait to hear how it goes! Tag your pics #mrsmabeycooks.
- 1 lb zucchini
- 1/2 c Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 c freshly shredded parmesan cheese
- 3/4 t garlic salt
- 1 t Italian seasoning
- 2 eggs, beaten
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease baking sheet.
- Mix together breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt. Toast over medium heat until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and put it in a bowl. Allow to cool.
- Toss parmesan cheese with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Cut the zucchini into wedges.
- Dip zucchini into beaten egg, and then coat in breadcrumb/parmesan mixture. Place skin-side down on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, checking the zucchini for doneness with a fork after 10.