It is time to celebrate!
Celebrate what you ask? Zucchini season!
Yep, this is the time of year when the stores and farmer's markets are filled with the delicate loveliness of zucchini. I happen to be a huge fan of this vegetable (did you know that zucchini is technically a fruit, I never knew). It can be used in a variety of ways, both savory and sweet, and all are perfectly wonderful. Personally I love to saute it simply with olive oil and garlic, but this past weekend I decided to do something a bit more.
Zucchini tends to be the supporting dish, always pushed aside for the main dish....this time I wanted to make it the star of the show...what I am trying to say is, nobody puts zucchini in a corner (love that movie quote!!) at least not this time. Zucchini alla Parmigiana is a beautiful combination of all things Italian: lightly fried zucchini, tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmigiano-reggiano cheeses, and last but certainly not least fresh basil! A one dish wonder that is certainly the star of any dinner.
Just in case you are a fan of eggplant feel free to substitute it for the zucchini as this dish is originally made with eggplant. I think you will find it equally as fantastic!
Zucchini alla Parmigiana
adapted from: Melanzane all Parmigiana
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups (approx.) of canned tomatoes, crushed
- Fresh basil leaves
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 4-5 medium-sized zucchini
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour (approx.), used for dredging
- 1 medium mozzarella (4 oz), diced, or the 12 oz tub of bocconcini -sized mozzarella, quartered
- 12 oz (approx.) Parmigiano, grated
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a sauce pan over medium heat saute the garlic in a bit of olive oil until slightly browned. Add the tomatoes, salt, sugar and basil. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
Slice the zucchini lengthwise. Try to keep the thickness consistent, around 1/2 inch is good. In a small bowl beat the two eggs, pour out onto a plate. On another plate place the flour. Heat a good amount of oil in a large frying pan. Dredge the zucchini slices in the flour, turn to coat and then dip each slice into the eggs, turn to coat. Fry the zucchini for around 3 minutes each side, be careful not to crowd the pan. Set aside each slice on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
In a large, greased 9 x 13" baking pan spoon a generous amount of tomato sauce. Set the fried zucchini in a single layer, top with mozzarella and parmigiano. Repeat for a second layer, tomato sauce, zucchini, mozzarella, parmigiano. Finish by topping with the remaining sauce, parmigiano cheese (be generous) and fresh basil.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 more minutes. It is now ready to eat and enjoy.