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Baked Zucchini Fries

With it now being summer, we are blessed enough to have a bounty of summer squash and zucchini coming from our garden. While traditional methods, i.e. fried squash, are delicious, sometimes you just want something new and a little healthier to do with your produce. While I have made zucchini bread, cakes, and even fritters, today, I decided to expand on my baked squash recipe and create a crispy zucchini fry to go with our summertime grilled burgers.
Admittedly, when I first made the recipe, I was a little worried. I wasn't worried so much about the deliciousness of the meal, as I am a vegetable lover, but I was worried about how the change would be received by my husband. While he is good about serving as my taste tester, he likes his squash prepared the traditional Southern way.....fried! However, even he was surprised at the crisp texture, perfectly tender interior, and savory seasoned flavor. We will be making this again!

2 Zucchini
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
2 Eggs
1 Tablespoon Water
1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

Yield; 4 Servings
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Slice the ends off of each zucchini. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise. To make the fries, slice halves into 1/4-inch strips.
3. Place the flour in a resealable plastic bag. Place the zucchini slices in the flour bag. Shake to thoroughly coat.
4. Prepare the dredging stations. In a shallow dish, whisk together the egg and water. In a separate shallow dish, combine the Panko and seasonings, stirring well. Place a rack on top of a baking sheet to allow a place for the coated strips to rest.
5. Remove one strip at a time from the flour, shaking off the excess. Coat in the egg mixture and then press into the seasoned Panko. Place on the baking rack. Repeat the process until all of the strips are coated.
6. Make sure that there is room between each zucchini strip on the rack. If your baking rack seems to be too crowded, prepare two pans for baking. Too much room is much better than not enough! The room between the zucchini fries will allow them to become crispy and brown on each side while baking, just as the rack allows the bottom to crisp and not become soggy.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until deeply golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from the rack.


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