Here is our fantastic "Friday Night Fun" dinner that I served family style for our indoor picnic, courtesy of the Aggie's Kitchen website. All of us loved this satisfying, delicious, and healthy version of fried zucchini sticks; without any taste sacrifice. My son did not even realize he was eating vegetables for dinner! It was the perfect choice for a relaxed meal, and one that I will make again and again.
Baked Parmesan Zucchini Sticks
From: Aggie's Kitchen, 9/25/10 (featured on CBSNews.com)
3 large zucchini, sliced longways, halved and cut into sticks
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried garlic powder
Olive oil spray
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray olive oil spray on large baking sheet. Set aside.
Slice zucchini into long planks. Cut planks in half then slice long into sticks.
In large shallow bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, set aside. In large shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano and garlic powder.
Working with 3-4 zucchini sticks at a time, start breading process by dunking and completely covering zucchini with egg mixture. Take zucchini sticks out of egg mixture, allowing an extra egg to drip off, and place into breadcrumb mixture. Gently coat the zucchini stick completely with breadcrumb mixture. Place breaded zucchini stick onto baking sheet.
Continue this process until all zucchini sticks are breaded and on baking sheet. Spray each zucchini stick with olive oil spray and place into 425 degree oven. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Using a spatula, flip each zucchini stick and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
At the end of the cook time, I turned on the broiler for a couple minutes to ensure that the coating was nicely browned and crisp on all sides of my sticks. A little grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of salt was the perfect garnish to these beauties. Also, I substituted whole wheat breadcrumbs instead of plain breadcrumbs.
For the marinara dipping sauce in the middle of the plate: I just took one jar of our favorite pasta sauce and added 1/2 of a small can of tomato paste to it. I seasoned it with salt and some red pepper flakes, then reduced it down by half to create a thick, stick-sticking condiment. So easy and it was totally fabulous!
I have not had zucchini sticks in such a long time...I really missed them! Usually, I stayed away because of all the fried breading; and I hated that the original version turned into one of my "off limit" foods. Now, I am happy to report that this recipe has satisfied my need for zucchini sticks and I no longer have to miss out on the yummy goodness of this crispy treat! Hooray!!!