full description - content: Those darn zucchini! There’s an army of them occupying your garden right now and each one is as big as a blimp.
full description - content: What if I told you there’s a way to transform the whole lot of them into a delicious dish resembling french fries, but without all the calories? The secret involves cutting your zucchini into fry-like sticks, then cooking them in a way that delivers that signature crunch, but without the deep-frying.
full description - content: To start, you toast up some panko breadcrumbs in a dry skillet, which ensures that the finished product — the breaded zucchini — has the toasted taste and color that everyone loves. Then you mix them with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, which not only contributes to that golden hue, it also makes everything taste better.
full description - content: By the way, the amount of cheese you’ll end up with depends on which tool you use to grate it. Cheese grated on a fine wand-style grater has two-thirds more volume than cheese grated on the fine side of a box grater. I used a wand grater, which is how I came up with the 5 tablespoons of grated cheese used in this recipe. Using a box grater, you’ll only need 1½ to 2 tablespoons.
full description - content: The crumb mixture is glued to the zucchini sticks using a basic breading technique. You dip the sticks first in flour, then egg, then the breadcrumbs. If you skip the flour, the crumbs often fall off. Happily, you can do the breading an hour ahead of time, then park the breaded zucchini on a cooling rack until just before dinner. This keeps the air circulating around the sticks so that they don’t get soggy. Then just transfer them to a rimmed baking sheet and pop them into the oven for 8 minutes.
full description - content: The dipping sauce is gussied-up aioli. In truth, even basic aioli — or garlic mayonnaise — is just fine.
full description - content: Paprika of all kinds is widely available. You’ll likely be able to find excellent Hungarian and Spanish versions, both in varying degrees of heat, at your local supermarket. Undoubtedly, that ready availability explains why it’s not unusual to find paprika gracing our French fries these days. It’s wonderful here.
full description - content: Recipe, Cheesy Zucchini Fries with Smoked Paprika Dipping Sauce:
full description - content: Start to finish: 35 minutes; servings: 4
full description - content: 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon garlic powder Salt and ground black pepper 1 large egg, beaten lightly with 1 tablespoon water ¾ pound zucchini, peeled and cut into 16 equal sticks ¼ cup light mayonnaise 1 teaspoon lemon juice ½ teaspoon minced garlic ½ teaspoon hot smoked paprika
full description - content: Heat the oven to 450 F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.
full description - content: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the panko, stirring frequently, until toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a shallow bowl and stir in the Parmesan and the oil.
full description - content: In another shallow bowl, combine the flour with the garlic powder, then season it with salt and pepper. In a third shallow bowl place the egg mixture.
full description - content: Working with several zucchini sticks at a time, toss them in the flour, shaking off the excess. Add the flour-coated zucchini to the egg mixture and toss to coat well, letting the excess egg drip off. Finally, place them in the panko mixture, tossing to make sure they are coated well on all sides. Arrange the fully coated zucchini sticks in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
full description - content: Bake, turning once, until golden and tender, about 8 minutes.
full description - content: While the zucchini is baking, in a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic and paprika.
full description - content: Season with salt and pepper.
full description - content: Sprinkle the cooked zucchini lightly with salt and pepper, then transfer to a platter and serve immediately with the sauce.
full description - content: Nutrition information per serving: 290 calories; 120 calories from fat (41 percent of total calories); 14 grams fat (3 grams saturated; 0 grams trans fats); 55 milligrams cholesterol; 34 grams carbohydrate; 2 grams fiber; 3 grams sugar; 10 grams protein; 500 milligrams sodium.
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