I’ve been having a great time coming up with fun and delicious ways to use up zucchini this summer as I have more than I know what to do with growing in the garden. Of all the recipes I’ve created/found (Chocolatey Zucchini Banana Brownies, Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini Boats, Zucchini & Parmesan Fritters with Lemon Zest) to name a few, THIS one has to be my favourite.
A few weeks ago I decided to bread some zucchini and fry it up as an appetizer. I served it with a simple lemon, dill dip and although it was tasty, I knew I could do better. I find zucchini, even fried zucchini, quite bland. I also love fried pickles but sometimes find them to be too ‘pickly/sour’. SO, I decided to combine the two flavours, add some cheese and lemon and voila! I came up with fried Pickled Parmesan Zucchini Bites!
These turned out GREAT. The longer you soak the zucchini in the pickle juice the more intense the pickle flavour becomes. I recommend a minimum of 4 – 6 hours but you could even let them sit over night. The zucchini is actually delicious eaten right out of the pickling liquid but once you bread them, fry them and serve them with dip, they are insanely tasty!! A MUST TRY!
NOTE: If you have a very large zucchini you may want to scoop out the centre ‘spongy’ part. In this case, you could cut the zucchini into ‘moon’ or half circle shapes instead…
RECIPE (serves 4)
- 1 medium zucchini (sliced into 1/4″ rounds – around 20 – 25 pieces)
- pickle juice (enough to completely cover the zucchini)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs (or regular bread crumbs, if you prefer)
- 2 small eggs – beaten and seasoned with salt
- 1/3 cup flour
- vegetable oil – enough for frying (about 1 cup)
- salt (for sprinkling on zucchini before and after they are fried)
Click link for: Lemon Dill Dip to serve with the zucchini bites!
- Slice zucchini into about 1/4″ rounds and soak for 4 – 8 hours in pickle juice.
- Remove zucchini from juice and pat dry with paper towel. Salt BOTH sides of the zucchini generously and sprinkle pepper on one side.
- Arrange 3 large bowls. Add flour to one, panko and parmesan to another and egg, salt and lemon zest to the third. Whisk egg and lemon zest together.
- Dip each zucchini round in flour and tap off any access.
- Next, dip into egg mixture ensuring each piece is well coated in egg but not dripping.
- Lastly, add zucchini round one to three at a time to the panko mix and press down on both sides to ensure zucchini is getting as much panko mixture on it as possible.
- Repeat this process until all the zucchini is nicely breaded.
- Heat oil in a large pan until quite hot. NOTE: Test heat by dipping a zucchini round in the oil using tongs. The oil should sizzle and bubble. If it doesn’t, the oil is not hot enough. It is CRUCIAL that the oil is hot enough of the zucchini will become soggy instead of nice and crispy.
- Add zucchini to oil in batches ensuring you are not overcrowding the pan (overcrowding will bring the heat down too much causing the zucchini to become soggy).
- Watch the heat and increase if the zucchini is not browning fast enough (or turn it down if zucchini is browning too fast).
- Watch closely and check zucchini often to ensure it’s not getting too browned.
- Once brown and crispy on one side, flip and brown other side.
- Remove from heat and place on an even layer on paper towel (to soak up any access oil) and immediately sprinkle with salt. (NOTE: do not stack zucchini on top of each other or overlap right away because this will cause the zucchini to go limp).
Transfer to a serving plate and serve with lemon dill dip!