Monday, July 26, 2010

Gluten Free Zucchini Parmesan: Use Up the Extras!

This year I planted not one but two zucchini plants in my back yard. I know, I know. I'm crazy because how will I ever use up all that zucchini I'll get out of it? Everyone knows it's the bane of summer when your neighbors come over with a huge zucchini for you, all smiles, and what do you do with it? Look at it on the counter until you throw it away, that's what. Well, I actually planted an extra plant this year because last summer I finally became a fan of zucchini when it wasn't baked into a bread or a soup or a muffin. I actually ate it by itself. Wow. My dad almost fainted dead away when he heard the world's biggest proponent for zucchini extermination was actually eating ones she grew in her back yard. As the World Turns, I know.

I have a few tips for you about zucchini. First of all, pick them when they are small. Usually you'd want to pick them when they are about 8 or 9 inches long. They are tender and tasty then. The reason no one likes zucchini is probably because they are eating ones that are two feet long and as big around as a softball. Those zucchini are tough and fibrous, not good for eating plain. When you get a big one like that, slice off the slimmest end and grate it up to use in muffins or breads. You can even put it in one cup portions in a ziploc and freeze it to use in the winter. Just drain it well after you thaw it. Secondly, zucchini will take on whatever flavor you put on it, just like mushrooms. So if you love Indian cuisine, try some curry powder on your zucchini. Love the spicy foods? Try sauteeing it with some cayenne or red pepper flakes. Me? I love the Italian flavors, so I always do Zucchini Parmesan, which isn't anything like Chicken Parmigiana, okay? It's just the name I made up for this side dish.
Gluten Free Zucchini Parmesan
1 8-inch zucchini, sliced into rounds
1/2 stick of butter
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
dried minced onion
1 minced garlic clove
2-4 T freshly grated parmesan cheese

In a large frypan, melt the butter and add the zucchini slices. Sprinkle with the pinches of salt and pepper and arrange the slices in a single layer in the pan. Let brown for a few minutes so the zucchini starts to get tender, and flip over when slices are lightly browned on one side. Let brown on the other side, Add minced onion and garlic and saute for 1 minute, then grate Parmesan cheese right over the top. Let cheese melt for 1 minute, then serve.

You can do this recipe with or without the garlic. I happen to really love garlic, but if you don't, you can leave it out and it will still taste divine. The best thing about zucchini, really? Naturally gluten free, baby.

Happy eating!

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