Monday, November 8, 2010

Roasted Zucchini Parmesan

So, you may remember my lament over the lack of zucchini from my dad's garden this summer.  I had all this inspiration of the many things I was going to make with zucchini this summer, and when he told me early on that the plants were done, I think I must have gone into conserve mode and mentally stashed those ideas and recipes away.  Well, a friend gave me a zucchini from her garden.  My dad gave me a couple more.  My sister gave me her last three.  But, while this should have resurrected my inspiration, it was long gone.  So, instead of being overjoyed and exuberant over my good fortune and plethora of zucchini, I found myself at a loss for what to do with all this zucchini.  I resorted to shredding one and making a zucchini pound cake which is just not in my nature to make willingly.  Anyway, summer is way over and I still have 3--count them, 3!--zucchini in my pantry, threatening to rot before I turn them into something marvelous.

And then it hit me.  I needed to make zucchini Parmesan.  You know, like eggplant Parmesan?  Only with zucchini.  Score.  Done deal.  I can always go for garlic- and basil-infused meals.

A sidenote:  I think that this would have just pushed me over the top if my zucchini would have been the freshest of fresh.  Alas, however, it was still delightful.

Roasted Zucchini Parmesan
A Karla-Original, inspired by Annie's Eats

1 large zucchini, or several small ones
1 cup flour
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk
Parmesan cheese (can you have too much of this?)
at least 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (again, the cheesier the merrier!)
olive oil, for greasing the baking sheets

For tomato sauce:
1 onion, diced
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped fine
1/2 tsp. oregano
3-4 garlic cloves, pressed or chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1 tbl. sugar
3 tbl. unsalted butter
1 large handful of fresh basil, snipped
2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium shallow bowl, combine the flour and the bread crumbs.  Set aside.  In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.  Set aside.

Slice zucchini into 1/4-in. slices.  Dip each slice into the egg mixture then coat both sides in the flour/bread crumb mixture.  Place each coated zucchini slice onto a rimmed baking sheet that has been coated in olive oil.  When all zucchini slices are prepared, bake in preheated oven until zucchini is well-browned and crisp, about 30 minutes, rotating baking sheets after 10 minutes and flipping the slices after 10 more minutes.  Do not turn off oven when zucchini is done roasting.

While zucchini is roasting, prepare the tomato sauce.  In a medium saucepan, drizzle the bottom with some olive oil; heat.  Add the onion, carrot, and oregano and saute until tender.  Add garlic and saute 30 seconds more.  Add the tomatoes with their liquid and salt and pepper to taste.  Add bay leaf and sugar and simmer gently to let flavors blend, about 15-20 minutes.  Add butter and let melt; stir to incorporate.  Off heat.  Add snipped basil leaves and Parmesan cheese and stir to combine.

To assemble, pour some of the sauce on bottom of a 9x13 baking dish to cover the bottom.  Place one layer of zucchini slices on top of sauce.  Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and sprinkle some Parmesan cheese.  Add more sauce.  Repeat zucchini layer, followed by cheese, sauce, and finish with a final layer of cheese.

Bake uncovered, until sauce is bubbly and cheese is browned, about 13-15 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes, scatter any remaining basil you might have over the top and cut into squares to serve.

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