Saturday, January 30, 2010

Parmesan Crusted Baked Zucchini Sticks with Creamy Horseradish Sauce

In the past 2 years I have developed an obsessed with fried zucchini.  I'm not sure when fried zucchini first started showing up on restaurant menus, but now I order it almost anytime I see it.  One of my favorite versions of fried zucchini is served at Harriet's - a small takeout burger place on the UWS.  They serve the fried zucchini sticks with a creamy horseradish sauce that is just amazing.  Most restaurants (and bars) serve their fried zucchini sticks with marinara sauce, which is also tasty, but nowhere near as good as Harriet's creamy horseradish sauce.  For the record, I also don't find my attempt at creamy horseradish sauce to be as good as Harriet's, but it's a work in progress.  While I enjoy horseradish sauce on prime rib, it never would have occurred to me to pair it with zucchini until Harriet's.

After one miserable attempt at baked zucchini sticks of my own (I cut them too thin so by the time the breading had browned the insides of the zucchini were mush), I stumbled across a few recipes for baked zucchini sticks.  I took the one that seemed the most promising and whipped myself up some baked zucchini sticks crusted in Parmigiano-Reggiano and panko bread crumbs.  Yum.  While it's not quite the same as the deep-fried version (because lighter versions of our favorite fattening foods never are), it is a wonderful version that I can make at home and not feel guilty about eating.

Recipes after the jump!

Parmesan Crusted Baked Zucchini Sticks with Creamy Horseradish Sauce

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (grated)
1 tsp dried oregano
2 large zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and widthwise and then sliced into thick sticks
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Mix the bread crumbs, parm-reg and oregano in a bowl.  Pat zucchini sticks dry.  Season the zucchini with salt and pepper.  Dip the zucchini in the egg and then dredge in the bread crumb mixture.  Prepare baking sheet by lining with tin foil.  Spray foil lightly with cooking spray.  Place the zucchini on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.  Spray top sides of zucchini lightly with cooking spray.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Then turn oven to broil and broil, watching very carefully, until breading starts to turn golden brown, about 45-60 seconds.  Allow to cool 2-3 minutes and then serve immediately.

*NOTE:  If you don't have an oven that easily switches to broil, then you can just cook the zucchini for 20 minutes at 425 degrees F, flipping zucchini halfway through.

Creamy Horseradish Sauce

4 tbsp sour cream
2 tsp prepared extra-hot horseradish (some horseradishes are hotter than others so do this to taste)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
dash Worcestershire sauce
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Cover and chill in refrigerator to allow flavors to meld.

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