Zucchini Parmesan

Looking for something a little different to do with your zucchini or summer squash?  Here’s a recipe that can hold you over until the eggplant starts arriving at the Farmer’s Market.  You can prep this in advance and bake it later.

Zucchini Parmesan

  • 1 quart tomato sauce (see recipe here: http://tradsnotfads.com/the-tomatoes-are…atoes-are-coming/)
  • 4-5 medium zucchini or yellow squash, cut into ½” planks or oblongs**
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 4 cups corn flake crumbs (if you are not gluten free, you can use bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Olive oil, to drizzle
  • 1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound provolone cheese, grated

 

  1. Line a baking sheet with paper towels or tea towels. Place the squash planks in a single layer on the toweling and sprinkle with salt.  Put more toweling on top and then another baking sheet.  Put something heavy on top of the baking sheet and leave it sit for 15 -20 minutes.  This will squeeze out excess moisture.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 F
  3. Put the flour on a flat dish and mix in a few grinds of pepper.
  4. Combine the milk and egg in a wide bowl.
  5. Mix the crumbs, oregano, and thyme and place on a dish.
  6. Remove the squash from the baking sheets and line the sheets with foil.
  7. One at a time, take a squash plank, dip it in the flour, shake off the excess, dip it in the egg, and then the crumb mixture. Place the plank on the foil-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all of the planks have been dipped.
  8. Drizzle the planks with olive oil and place in the oven. After 10 minutes, take them out of the oven and flip them over, and put them back in for another 10 minutes.  You can skip the flip by putting the planks on baking racks rather than directly on the baking sheet.
  9. Reduce the oven to 350 F
  10. Assemble the casserole:
    1. In a greased 9×13 baking dish, place about 1 cup tomato sauce in the bottom and spread evenly.
    2. Place a layer of squash on the tomato sauce, as close together as you can. It is ok to overlap the pieces.  You want to use half of the squash.
    3. Sprinkle with ½ of the parmesan cheese and then using half of the other cheese, place a layer of mozzarella on top and then the provolone.
    4. Make a second layer of squash, top with about 1 cup of tomato sauce and then the remaining cheeses.
    5. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the cover and bake for another 10 minutes.
    6. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

 

**If you are using a “baseball bat” of a zucchini, cut it in half length-wise and scrape out the seeds.  Then cut it into the planks.  I usually trim the pieces to fit short-ways in the baking dish.  One huge zucchini is usually enough for this recipe.  However, it does freeze well, so you could make one for now and one for later!

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Summer squash I found in my car upon arriving home from the CSA
Summer squash I found in my car upon arriving home from the CSA

Are they coming in like crazy, those zucchini and summer squash?  The farm manager at the CSA was sneaking extra squash into people’s bags.  I got home and found a Lil’ Slugger in my bag as well.  I don’t remember him putting it in there, so he must have had one of the apprentices distracting me!  Even the CSA manager has to revert to subversive measures to unload the zucchini!

The bottom line is that there is only so much zucchini bread we can eat, right?  And if we have grilled zucchini planks with dinner every night, what about all of the other great veggies (like the green beans!!)?

Here’s an easy preservation method for zucchini and summer squash:

I break out the food processor for this one, because I am generally talking about large quantities of summer squash!  If they are large, cut them lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  I usually use a grapefruit spoon for this.  (I feed the seeds to the chickens, so I don’t end up with zucchini growing in my compost pile!) Cut the zucchini so it will fit in the processor’s feed tube and grate the squash.

Summer squash cut lengthwise
Summer squash cut lengthwise

Line a cookie sheet with a flour-sack towel, or a piece of old cotton sheet (I have cut several to fit for this purpose).  Spread the shredded zucchini onto the lined cookie sheet.  Lightly salt the squash and let it sit for about 15-20 minutes.  Roll it up in the cloth and squeeze out the excess water. Pack in zipper freezer bags, by 2 cups worth (Most of my recipes call for 2 C of grated zucchini).  Press the bags flat and lay flat in the freezer until they are frozen. When you want to make a delicious meal, like Faux Crab Cakes (below), just take out a bag of frozen zucchini shreds, and defrost them.

Faux Crab Cakes

  • 2 C shredded zucchini or summer squash
  • 2 C Bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T mayonnaise
  • 1 T of Seafood Seasoning Mix (see below)

Mix everything together and form into patties.  Fry in a pan, about 5 minutes a side, until golden.  Serve hot.  If you have any left, they are really great under a poached egg and covered in hollandaise sauce, or much simpler, on a bun with a lettuce leaf!

“Aged Inlet” Seafood Seasoning Mix

In a spice grinder (we have a dedicated old coffee grinder for this purpose), place the following:

  • 3 crushed bay leaves
  • 1 T celery seeds
  • 1 T dry mustard
  • 2 t ginger
  • 2 t smoked paprika (use regular if you don’t have smoked)
  • 10-15 scrapes of nutmeg (or 1/4 t ground)
  • 1 1/2 t whole allspice
  • 1 1/2 t whole cloves
  • 1/2 t mace
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1 T salt
  • 2 t black pappercorns
  • 1 t white peppercorns

Grind it all up until it is a powder.  This may take a little tapping and stirring between grinds.  Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid.