Move Over, Fries!

I've heard people talk about having too much zucchini in their kitchens. When I hear that, I'm quick to offer to help them out, even if I have a bunch of it waiting in my own. Why? It's one of the most versatile vegetables on the planet, that's why! I love shredding it and including it in anything wanting a little moisture. It's great in sweet and savory dishes alike. It even makes a great crunchy snack or side dish:

I can hear it now. Wait — that's zucchini? Yep. And it's amazing. Here, it plays sidekick to some fantastic pretzel sliders, But I've also enjoyed just chowing down on a plate of these babies just as a snack. They are crunchy and salty on the outside, soft and mushy on the inside, and pair beautifully with your favorite dips. I like making a creamy honey mustard dressing to dip them in, but you could use anything from your favorite salad dressing to mayo to salsa.

The first step in this recipe isn't difficult, but does require letting the zucchini coins sit for a bit. It's a great time to prep other food, make that phone call you've been putting off, or just sitting down and reading an article that's been put on the back burner again and again. Whatever you do, don't skip this step! It's what pulls a bit of the overwhelming moisture out of the zucchini and allows you to find that sweet spot of soft inside with crunchy outside. If you skip it, you will end up with a mushy mess that won't be dip-worthy at all.

I know French fries are a traditional pairing with burgers and there's something about summer that just begs for lots of burgers. But do yourself a favor and give these babies a try sometime instead. If you're like me, you'll be setting aside French fries until after zucchini season is over and be volunteering to adopt all that zucchini your friends are running out of things to do with. But be a pal and at least share some of these with them!

Crispy Zucchini Coins

  • 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced to about ¼-inch thick rounds
  • 1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Lay out a couple of paper towels and place the zucchini coins on them. Cover the zucchini coins with more paper towels, lay a large cutting board on them, and set an unopened can of beans (or tomatoes or whatever) on the cutting board so that there's pressure on the zucchini coins. Leave to sit for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the paper towels will be wet and the zucchini coins will be relatively dry.

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

In a shallow pie plate, combine the Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and salt & pepper; set aside.

In a second shallow dish, beat the egg and the mayonnaise together to form a wet sauce. Add a little water if it is too thick for lightly coating the zucchini coins.

Start by dipping the zucchini coins into the egg mixture and then dredge in the Panko mixture, pressing lightly to coat. Place the zucchini coins on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all of the zucchini coins are done.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the zucchini coins are golden and crispy. Serve hot with your favorite dip.

  • Yields: 2-4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes