Friday, July 25, 2008

Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce

I LOVE FRIED FOODS, doesn’t everyone? Unfortunately for my taste buds, but fortunately for my waist line, I reserve eating them for special occasions. Fried zucchini from Phillies Pizza is one of my weaknesses. I have been looking for a way to recreate these delicious sticks in a healthier way for some time now. I just discovered the Cooking Light recipe, Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smokey Roasted Romesco Sauce, and I knew it was time to give this healthful recreation a try. I had a batch of Lindrusso’s marinara sauce in my freezer, so I passed this time on the Romesco sauce, but the end result of this recipe was a hit.

Parmesan Zucchini Sticks with Smoky Roasted Romesco Sauce

Cooking Light, JULY 2008

Crunchy breaded zucchini spears are delicious dipped in a summery sauce of roasted red peppers. The sauce is a zesty embellishment for grilled meats, too.

3 medium red bell peppers
2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup (1/2-inch) cubed French bread baguette, crusts removed
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked almonds
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 large garlic clove

3 large zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup egg substitute
Cooking spray

1. Preheat broiler.

2. To prepare sauce, cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place bell pepper halves and tomatoes, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten bell peppers with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and coarsely chop, reserving any liquid.

3. Combine bell peppers, reserved liquid, tomatoes, and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a blender or food processor; process until smooth.

4. Preheat oven to 400°.

5. To prepare zucchini, cut 1 zucchini in half crosswise; cut each half lengthwise into 8 wedges. Repeat procedure with remaining zucchini. Combine breadcrumbs, panko, cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dip zucchini in egg substitute; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Place zucchini on a wire rack coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat zucchini with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with sauce.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 6 zucchini sticks and 1/4 cup sauce)

CALORIES 170 (30% from fat); FAT 5.6g (sat 1.3g,mono 2.5g,poly 1.3g); IRON 1.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 3mg; CALCIUM 107mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.4g; SODIUM 434mg; PROTEIN 8.4g; FIBER 3.9g

The Parmesan Zucchini Sticks accompanied some Unbelieveable Chicken that I had marinated, frozen, and defrosted that Terry threw on the BBQ. The only change that I made to the recipe was to use two eggs instead of the egg substitute because that is what I had on hand. I served some good ol’ mac n’ cheese right out of the box as a back up plan for Terry. He ate about four of the zucchini sticks, he said they were “OK”. I have to give him a lot of credit for trying all of my new veggie based creations, he is a real trooper. In my opinion these were really good. I will definitely make them again, perhaps along side some homemade pizza so I can have the full-Phillies experience! I can see this baking technique working well with other vegetables and will attempt onion rings in this manner very soon, I KNOW Terry will go for those!


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