Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Zucchini Fries Recipe | Bon Appétit

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During high school, my group of theater friends and I would, stereotypically, trek to our local diner after an evening performance as it was one of the few places that remained open late into the night. Our go-to order consisted of milkshakes, mozzarella sticks, and a heaping plate of zucchini fries to share. The fries would come out piping hot, shatteringly crisp on the outside, with a bowl of marinara sauce alongside for dipping. Were they mostly breading with barely any zucchini on the inside? Yes. Did we care? No. At the time, it hit the spot.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been back to that diner, but I’ve carried the memory of those zucchini fries with me. Now when I make them for myself, I flip the ratio, using thick-cut zucchini so it’s mostly vegetable with just some breading. Panko, instead of regular breadcrumbs, delivers big, audible crunch while a little Parmesan, some dried herbs, and garlic powder mixed into the panko throw it back to the Italian vibes of the original marinara side.

You don’t need the deep fryer setup of a diner to recreate perfectly crisp zucchini fries. A large skillet with a modest amount of oil is all it takes. If you’re really, truly adamant about not frying, you’ll be happy to learn that these work exceptionally well baked in a hot oven. The trick to actually crisp baked zucchini fries is to jump-start the cooking process by heating up your baking sheet. This, and a good film of oil, will ensure golden brown zucchini fries with perceptible crunch.

As you’re placing the fries in the oil, carefully lay them away from you so you don’t accidentally splatter yourself. Tongs are a great tool for handling the fries and giving yourself some distance from the pan of hot oil.

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