Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Parmesan Encrusted Zucchini Recipe

Parmesan Encrusted ZucchiniHere's hoping that all my non-garden-owning readers remember my apology for the garden-centric content lately, but around here it's zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, or cucumbers on the menu for a few more weeks. Maybe some eggplant once in a while, although the eggplant isn't very prolific compared to the other veggies. At least it has been fun looking through some of my favorite cookbooks to see if there are any new and original recipes for vegetables. This is a recipe I found in Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop, definitely a book that's on my list of favorites.

I actually made this twice in two days (in the name of research!) The original recipe called for two tablespoons of melted butter for four zucchini, and of course it tasted great. Who doesn't like butter and Parmesan cheese melted together? Still, I'm always trying to keep things South Beach Diet friendly, and I wondered if that butter was really necessary. The answer is no, but I'd be lying if I said the version with butter wasn't a tiny bit better. Still, the no-butter version was completely delicious too, or you could just use a bit less butter, which is what I'll do next time. Take your pick on that part of the recipe, but do give this a try.

Cut zucchini into french-fry size pieces, cutting away some of the white inside part if the zucchini are very big. I made sticks of zucchini about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch thick.

Cook zucchini in boiling, well-salted water about 3-4 minutes, or until they are barely starting to get tender. (My next research project will be to see how this turns out if you just skip pre-cooking the zucchini. If anyone tries it, please let me know.)

Drain water from zucchini and plunge into ice water for about a minute. This stops the cooking process and keeps the zucchini bright green.

Remove zucchini from ice water and let them drain in a colander for a couple of minutes.

Then lay zucchini out on cutting board and pat them dry on all sides with a paper towel. Don't skip this step!

Arrange zucchini in rows with the pieces close together, brush with butter if desired, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. The zucchini go under the broiler for about 15 minutes, or until all the cheese has melted over the zucchini and is looking delightfully browned. Completely yummy.

Parmesan Encrusted Zucchini
(Makes about 4 servings, recipe adapted slightly from Vegetables Every Day.)

4 medium zucchini
salt, for cooking zucchini
1 T butter, melted (optional, see notes above, recipe called for 2 T)
2/3 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese, more or less to taste

Fill a medium pot with water, add a generous amount of salt and bring to a boil.

Wash zucchini skins and cut zucchini into strips about 3 inches long and 1/2 inches thick. You will probably need to cut away some of the white inside part of the zucchini to get strips this thin.

Add zucchini to water and cook until barely tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain well and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking, then drain in colander for 2-3 minutes. Remove from colander and place in single layer on cutting board and pat dry with paper towels.

While zucchini cooks, preheat broiler and adjust the rack so it is six inches away from the heat. Spray a broiling pan with non-stick spray.

Arrange zucchini on broiler pan in rows, close together, skin side down. (Try to leave just a crack between each piece so the cheese can run down a tiny bit.) Brush zucchini with melted butter if using. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over zucchini, trying to get most of the zucchini covered.

Put zucchini under broiler and cook until cheese is completely melted and well-browned, about 15 minutes, or perhaps a little more, depending on how hot your broiler is and how close the pan is to the heat source. Serve hot or warm. There will not be any leftovers, so you don't need to worry about whether this will keep in the refrigerator.

Printer Friendly Recipe
South Beach Suggestions:
This would probably be considered a "once in a while treat" for any phase of the South Beach Diet, due to the amount of saturated fat in the cheese, although zucchini is very low in calories, carbs, and fat. If you're eating this with a relatively low-fat meal I wouldn't really worry about the cheese that much.

More Yummy Ways I've Cooked Zucchini:
Cheesy Zucchini with Garlic and Parsley
Stuffed Zucchini with Brown Rice, Ground Beef, Red Pepper, and Basil
"Creamed" Zucchini
Georgette's Greek Zucchini
Val's Kid Friendly Broiled Zucchini with Cheese

Some Zucchini Recipes I'd Love to Try:
(Recipes from other blogs may or may not be South Beach Diet friendly, check ingredients.)
Zucchini Fritters from Simply Recipes
Chanterelle Filled Zucchini with Thyme from Lucullian Delights
Baked Zucchini from Almost Turkish Recipes
Spicy Tofu and Zucchini with Lemongrass, Lime, and Basil from Cookthink
Zucchini-Feta Fritters from Je Mange la Villecounter customizable free hit


Katerina said...

Holy moley does this recipe ever sound good! And personally.. I think I am going to opt for the extra tablespoon of butter - But I appreciate all your experiments!

Maria said...

I don't have a garden but I still love seeing what wonderful recipes you are creating from your garden! This one looks great!!

Sophie said...

These look seriously good - I think I might even be able to persuade my husband that zucchini is a good thing with those babies! I wonder if you could make them with olive oil and skip the butter all together.

Kalyn said...

Truly guys, this was seriously good. I'm always testing new recipes so I don't make too many things over and over, but I'm making this again tonight.

Sophie, I'd love to hear how you like it if you try it with olive oil.

pinkiepie said...

It could also be good with rice oil instead of butter. This looks like a good recipe to try to get the kids to eat more veggies.

Nupur said...

These cheesy zucchini "fries" look so tempting! I could make a whole meal out of this platter...

cookiecrumb said...

Thank you, sister!

Shea said...

Oh...yummy yummy yummy!! I love zucchini. I normally just saute them with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper because I want to eat them as soon as possible. I am going to make these asap though. Seriously.

meeso said...

Zucchini is a great veggie...I think I wanna try this, and with the butter ;)

Michelle said...

Oh my gosh! I just got on-line to find a recipe for zucchini fries. I always stop by for your recipe of the day and low and behold there it was. Thank you again for another great recipe! I am going to try it without blanching first.

katiez said...

Mine are still producing, too. And we're still eating! Thanks for another recipe.
We're switching to winter squash for tonight...have to have some variety!

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Those zucchinis looks very tasty!!
I eat a lot of veggies... I used to be vegetarian, but I have never tied zucchini with parmesan, I must try it.
I will do some more baking with poppy seeds soon too!! Maybe bread for the bread day (October 16).
Greetings, Margot

Educator-To-Be said...

This looks and sounds stunning.

I shall have to try it.


R said...

perhaps instead of drizzling with butter, you could spray with some butter-flavored cooking spray? it would add some of the butter flavor but less fat

Alanna said...


: - ))))

Laura said...

Just FYI, I make a version of these without blanching them first, however, I cut my zucchini strips thinner. I lay the strips on a baking sheet, spray them with cooking spray, and sprinkle a Mexican style spice on them. Then I bake them at 450. My whole family loves them. With the spray and seasonings, instead of butter and cheese, they are very SB friendly. I am going to try your version tomorrow. They sound great.

Kevin said...

Another great way to do zucchini. I really enjoy broiling asparagus with parmigiano reggiano. I will have to try this.

Kalyn said...

Pinkiepie, I think kids would love this. Let me know if you try it with rice oil.

Nupur, that's what I did!

CC- You're welcome! I know you have zucchini to use!

Shea, hope you like it.

Meeso, Go for it!

Michelle, do let us know how it turns out without blanching. I thought about it too.

Katie, we're on the same wavelength. I've just started cooking some of my butternut squash.

Margot, you must try it. I'm hoping to participate in Bread Day too.

Amy, it was stunning, which I can say because it's Jack Bishop's recipe!

r- I think I would go for olive oil over cooking spray for flavor, but I did use cooking spray to coat the broiler pan.

Alanna, yes it was a keeper!

Laura, your zucchini fries do sound very SB friendly and good! Let me know if they like this one.

Kevin, hope you like it. Asparagus with parmesan is indeed divine.

Mandy said...

wow!!!!I am so going to try this! Thanks for the recipe!

East Meets West Kitchen said...

I just happen to have some zucchini sitting around and can't wait to try this recipe!

Lydia said...

Now I'm hoping one of my zucchini-growing friends drops off a few soon, so I can try this. Yum!

Kelly Mahoney said...

Sounds great, in my opinion. I've never had zucchini that style.

Mrs. G. said...

These are incredible!! I'm going to have to tell you that I feel strongly the butter is necessary! Thank you.

sher said...

I sure love the look of that picture! And I happen to love butter and parmesan-so I think I should do a taste test. Yes, I'll make the zucchini both ways.......That way I will surely have lots of fun!

Kalyn said...

Mandy, hope you like it.

EMWK, I think a lot of us have zucchini at this time of year! This is a great way to use them.

Lydia, wish I could send you some.

Kelly, my sister broils zucchini with cheese on it, but this was definitely a kicked-up version of what she makes.

Mrs. G, I hear you!

Sher, can't wait to hear your results after you try both ways.

Vuiy said...

Can anyone say alternative to french fires?

burcu said...

great recipe, Kalyn! I'll try this tonight.

Valli said...

A person can't have too much zucchini, peppers, tomatoes or eggplant fresh from the garden Kalyn!!!!I love this zucchini dish. I'm in an aoili mood so maybe some for a dip!!!

Mimi said...

This would be great with the stuffed peppers I am making tonight.

Lisa said...

These look so very yummy. They remind me of the fried zucchini sticks my mom used to make sometimes. I think she just dipped them in a flour and water batter and then pan fried them, and squeezed lemon over them. She didn't cook the zucchini first, but they probably got more cooking during the frying than these would under the broiler . . . still, I think it could work to not parboil them first.

elkit said...

I just made the lazy girl's version of this, and it turned out great:
I cut the zucchini into fry-sized spears, arranged them in a pan, drizzled butter over them and baked them at 350F for ten minutes. Then I sprinkled parmesan over them, and baked them for 20 more minutes. Simple as that, and mighty delicious.

Nancy said...

I made this last night, but I had forgotten to take the recipe with me. But my memory served me well!

However, I did forget to boil the zukes first, and it came out just fine! Also I didn't remove the white stuff, and cut them thicker than fries...just took a little longer backing but juicy and delicious!

Thanks much,

Anonymous said...

A brushed garlic butter on instead of just butter and they were delicious!

Jeanne said...

Oh, you're killing me here!! This looks incredible. I usually just make zucchini carpaccio when I have an abundance, but now I think I'll try this. Thanks!!

Jesseca said...

I love cooking this for my family. My husband doesn't care for veggies and sometimes the kiddos are hard to please but this one has been a dish that everyone goes for!!! thank you for making our Zucchini eating experience so much more enjoyable!

Tonight I'm cooking it for my parents who are on the low-carb diet so this will be great for them also!

Thank you again ~ Oh and I LOVE the pictures!!! Good work!!

TSannie said...

That looks delicious! And a lot more healthy than breadcrumb encrusted.
Just looked at the cookbook over at Amazon. Just the artichoke chapter looks wonderful! Might have to buy that book.

Kalyn said...

TSannie, I do love that cookbook, use it all the time. I bought a used one, so it was pretty inexpensive.

bwalice said...

Just wanted to add a note that I've modified this recipe a tiny bit, and my hubby loves it. Instead of cutting the zukes into "fries," I slice them into "chips" -- about 1/4" slices using my mandoline and then put them on the broiler rack. Everything else is pretty much the same - brush with a little bit of butter, sprinkle on salt, pepper, parmesan, and bake for about 15 minutes. We like our "chip" version a lot, and using the mandoline to slice is so fast! Every time I make these, we gobble them all up!

Kalyn said...

bwalice, I love your adaptation to cut the zucchini into chips! I'll have to try that.

Jennifer said...

I made these by brushing them with sour cream instead of butter and without boiling first. Gave them an extra couple of minutes baking after the broiling and they were delicious!

Kalyn said...

Jennifer, great idea. Sounds good to me!

Mrs. K said...

I make something very similar to this, but no boiling in water. If you do not want to cook in water first, place in 400 degree oven until golden brown, about 25minutews

Kalyn said...

Mrs. K, thanks for sharing that info. I think next time I will try your method.

Tammy said...

I have made this several times now. We LOVE IT! Such a great recipe. Even my 20 month old daughter eats it and asks for more.

Kalyn said...

Tammy, so glad you're enjoying it, and how fun that even your daughter likes it.

sf said...

I see Mrs K had the same idea I did - to oven bake. I sprayed the pan with OO Pam and decided to spray the zucchini too. Then I coated them with the cheese. I was grilling chicken breasts that had been marinated in a mixture of EVOO, lemon, oregano, salt & pepper and I timed everything to finish at the same time. Served them with a salad of mixed greens that were dressed with a vinaigrette made with both lemon and white balsamic. What an easy and awesome meal - I'm making the zucchini again. Thanks so much for the idea! Love your blog

Kalyn said...

So glad you liked it!

lsmom said...

Instead of par-boiling, just nuke for 2 minutes. Works fine & you don't have to drain or dry!!

Kalyn said...

Good to know, although some people don't have a microwave. But good idea for those who do.

zsiddiqi21 said...

LOL don't worry about leftovers... I will try this today or tomorrow for sure!

kathyzknight said...

This was so delicious, thank you! I skipped the steaming, and just broiled them. I also seasoned them with salt and pepper before topping with cheese.

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks for letting me know that Kathy. Now I need to make these without pre-cooking and take new photos!

Gwen said...

Our favorite zucchini recipe is very similar, but a lot more simple.
-Clean zucchini (or yellow squash)
-Slice about 1/4" or smaller (thicker = juicier; thinner = more chip like)
-spray with butter (spray butter is healthier than melter & easier)
-sprinkle with parmigian cheese
-broil on high or low (depending on how hungry you are) until cheese melts/browns
-(optional) flip and repeat previous 3 steps
-enjoy a delicious side or snack

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