Crispy baked zucchini fries dipped into a red pepper sauce are a fantastic way to use up your summer bounty of zucchini!
Yesterday, I opened the front door to find a bag of zucchini sitting on my doorstep. Have I mentioned that I have my own over-productive vegetable patch which is, by the way, clearly seen through my back fence? So, leaving more zucchini on my doorstep is like playing a cruel, vegetable-overload-induced game of Nikki Nikki nine doors (or ding-dong ditch, Knocky nine doors, chappy, bobby knock, ding dong dash, or pinpon dash, depending on where you grew up.) You know, the game you used to play as a child, when you rang someone's doorbell and ran away. The last time I was presented with this many zucchini, I made Zucchini Latkes with Yogurt-Curry Sauce. This time, I adapted a feta sauce recipe from Gourmet Magazine and baked some simply breaded zucchini pieces. If you prefer a more traditional fried taste, feel free to deep-fry. I guarantee they will be just as good. Either way, the feta and roasted red pepper dipping sauce turns this simple appetizer or side dish into something special.
How to make the dipping sauce:
In the bowl of a blender, combine 3 oz feta cheese (about ½ cup),
¼ cup sour cream,
2 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons lemon juice,
and ½ teaspoon minced garlic.
Puree the mixture until smooth. While the motor is running, slowly add 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, 1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves, and ½ roasted red bell pepper. Puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If you're unsure how to roast a bell pepper, check out my tutorial.
Pour the sauce into a small bowl, cover, and chill.
How to make The zucchini fries:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut 3 medium zucchini lengthwise into 2-inch-long and ¼-inch-thick pieces.
In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup bread crumbs, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. If I hadn't run out of panko breadcrumbs, I would have used them rather than regular ones. Their crunch is unmatched in the breadcrumb world!
In another medium bowl, spoon 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 eggs.
Working with several zucchini pieces at a time (I figured this out after I took the photos - I would have been there all night!), dredge the zucchini in the flour, shaking off the excess. Dip the zucchini in the egg mixture and then place the pieces in the bread crumbs, covering completely.
Place a rack on a baking sheet and place the breaded zucchini pieces on the rack. Spray with some olive oil. This will help give a little extra crisp on the fries.
Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and breading is browned and crisp.
Serve the fries with the dipping sauce.
Baked Zucchini Fries with Feta & Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce