Thursday, November 13, 2008

Zucchini Fries

And here's Part 2 of the little series I'm doing on tasty treats for watching a game with a group. I admit this one was a risk for a group of beer-drinking, wing-eating boys. But I had bought way too much zucchini for the Vegetable Tian I made earlier in the week and needed to find something to use it up. While I'm not crazy about zucchini the few times, I've had zucchini fries or zucchini parmesan I've really liked it. So after some searching I found this recipe which I decided to try because it was healthier than most, had it's own spicy dipping sauce and it called for the zucchini to be cut in rounds, which is how all my leftover zucchini was already cut. So 1/2 my prep work was out of the way already!

Oven Baked Zucchini Fries with Apricot Dipping Sauce

2 medium-to-large zucchini
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup non-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
apricot dipping sauce (recipe below)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a cookie sheet or pizza pan generously with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Trim the ends off the zucchini and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds. Sprinkle with kosher salt. This will help draw some of the moisture out of the zucchini. Pour the buttermilk into a shallow dish. Mix the cornmeal, Parmesan cheese and cayenne pepper into another shallow dish. Dip the zucchini slices into buttermilk, then the cornmeal mixture. Place on the prepared cookie sheet.

3. Bake 12 minutes until browned on the bottom. Turn, then bake another 3 to 5 minutes until browned on the top. Serve with apricot dipping sauce.

Apricot Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup no-sugar-added apricot jelly
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 dash hot sauce

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Serve immediately.

You can see I followed the recipe exactly (notice the lack of red comments) and would recommend you do the same. I was pleasantly surprised with how crispy these came out even though they were baked. To my surprise the guys seemed to enjoy them too and one of them even suggested substituting chickpea flour for the cornmeal, which is the one thing I'd considering changing up the next time I make them, just to see how it works. This is a great crispy treat that's so easy to make for a crowd. Enjoy!

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