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Fried Zucchini Sticks

Fried Zucchini Sticks
These zucchini sticks were inspired by the author's trip to Italy. Fry them just before serving so they will retain their crispness and crunch. Serve as a snack before dinner or alongside the main course.

Ingredients:

  • 4 zucchini
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 6 fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp. dried basil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil for frying
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
     for sprinkling

Directions:

Quarter the zucchini lengthwise, then cut each quarter in half crosswise.

Put the flour in a small paper bag. In a food processor or blender, combine the bread crumbs, garlic and basil. Process until the basil is finely chopped and the ingredients are well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the bread crumb mixture to a separate paper bag. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended.

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Drop 4 to 6 zucchini sticks into the bag with the flour mixture and shake to coat the zucchini. Transfer to a metal colander and shake off the excess flour. Dip the zucchini into the beaten eggs, coat with the bread crumb mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining zucchini. The zucchini can stand at room temperature for up to 3 hours before frying.

In a deep fryer or wok over medium-high heat, pour in oil to a depth of 5 inches and heat to 375°F on a deep-frying thermometer. Working in batches, fry the zucchini sticks until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the zucchini sticks to paper towels to drain, then place on a napkin-lined platter and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve immediately. Makes 32 zucchini sticks.

Judy Zeidler, Author, The Gourmet Jewish Cookbook (William Morrow and Co., Inc., 1988).