Tag Archives: pickling liquid

Pickled Parmesan Zucchini Bites

zucchini rounds front

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 BoatsZucchini & 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…

zucchini wedges

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)
  • pepper

Click link for: Lemon Dill Dip to serve with the zucchini bites!

METHOD

  • 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.

zucchini salt and pepper

  • 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.

zucchini panko

  • 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).

zucchini one side uncooked

  • 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.

fried zucchini

  • 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!

Fun Fish Tacos (PERFECT for entertaining!)

Fish Tacos

I LOVE fish tacos done right.  They are the epitome of summer.  I love ‘build your own’ anything and these are so much fun to eat – and unbelievably delicious.  I have been ordering fish tacos at restaurants forever.  Sometimes I’m happy with them, but usually I’m very disappointed.  There’s just not enough ‘love’ put into them.  I can’t stand getting 3 tacos with some bland fish, shredded cabbage or lettuce and a few diced tomatoes.  I want FLAVOUR!  I want TEXTURE!  I want WOW FACTOR!  

I have been working on this recipe for a while now.  I’m obsessed with it.   It might just be the best recipe I’ve ever come up with.  I’m not going to lie, it takes work.  That’s why I only break it out if I’m having people over to dinner or my girls over for a night of drinks and sitting on the patio.  This is the kind of meal you want to show off.  I prep over 2 days.  The first day I go out and buy all the ingredients I need.  Then I make the sauce and pickle the onions and jalapenos.  On the day we’re eating, I do the cabbage and bell pepper slaw, the avocado dish, and the pico de galo.

**This can all be done hours ahead so when guests are ready to eat, all you have to do is throw the fish in the oven and lay out the condiments and tortillas and you’re all set!  Voila!**

TIME SAVING TIP:  when prepping, get all the bowls and ingredients out for everything at once.  You’ll notice that all the different dishes here share a lot of the same ingredients.  So arrange your bowls, and as you’re using one ingredient, prepare it for all the dishes.  It makes things SO much quicker.  (for example, there’s cilantro in 3 of the dishes.  I add up how much I need in total, chop all of it at once, and then divide it up according to the measurement needed for each dish….)

all fish taco condiments

Don’t let all the steps below scare you.  They’re all easy and it’s a labour of love.  Make this while enjoying a cold cerveza, glass of white wine or your favourite margharita!  

RECIPE:  Serves 4 – 6   (if guests are eating an average of 4 tacos each!)

1.  THE FISH & TORTILLAS

The fish I use is High Liner Frozen English Style Pacific Cod Filets.  You could always use a non-breaded fresh fish of choice for these tacos, but I really do love the flavour of the fried fish.  I buy this particular fish at Costco and it’s the best frozen, breaded fish I have EVER eaten.  Like I said, I don’t make these often, so it’s a real treat and I don’t mind eating some fatty fish once in a while!  I use a 1/2 piece of fish per tortilla.  Just put fish out on a platter with a knife and let guests cut the fish and use tongs to put into tortillas!

As for the tortillas, use your favourite brand.  (I’m using President’s Choice whole wheat small tortillas because I love President’s Choice anything, and they were on sale…)

Fish and Tortillas in bag

2.  PICKLED RED ONION AND JALEPENOS

PICKLING LIQUID – Ratio 2:1 water to vinegar

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 red onion & 1 jalepeno pepper

METHOD: Combine water, vinegar, salt and sugar. Shake in the jar or container you want to keep the pickled food in. Add the Onion and Jalapeño. Seal container/jar. Wait at least one hour to eat.

pickled onion

3.  FISH TACO SAUCE  (Chipotle, Cumin and Lime Dip)  Makes 1 cup

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (use 1/2 cup may and 3/4 cup yogurt for a thicker sauce)
  • 1 cup greek non fat yogurt (or sour cream if you don’t have yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic – minced
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp chipotle pepper (use more if you like it spicier!)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 – 1.5 tsp lime juice, 1/4 tsp lime zest
  • 1/4 tsp salt

NOTE:  you can buy chipotle peppers in any grocery store in a can.  I don’t use them very often and they are VERY spicy so you don’t need to use much at once.  I just freeze them in a ziplock bag and break off a frozen chunk when I need a little!

Frozen Chipotle

METHOD:

1.  Combine all ingredients in food processor (or blender) and blend.  2.  Pour into squeezy bottle for serving (you can find these squeezy bottles in almost any dollar store).

Fish Taco Sauce in squeeze

4.  PICO DE GALO

  • 3 tomatoes – diced + 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro – chopped
  • 1.5 tsp lime juice
  • 1/4 cup red onion (or white)
  • OPTION: 1/2 tsp jalapeno
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:  

1.  Dice tomato and place in fine strainer with teaspoon of salt to drain out excess liquid.  Let sit for half an hour (you should have about a half cut of tomato water left over.  TIP:  Save this liquid to cook rice/quinoa/grains in!).  2.  Combine rest of ingredients and put into bowl for serving.

pico de galo

5.  CABBAGE AND BELL PEPPER SLAW

  • 3 cup green cabbage – shredded
  • 1/2 cup green onion – green part only
  • 1 cup mixed bell pepper julienned (sliced)  – red, orange and/or yellow
  • 1/2 cup cilantro – chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste

METHOD:

1.  Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Cabbage slaw

6.  AVOCADO WITH LIME

  • 2 medium ripe avocado – diced
  • 1/2 tsp jalepeno – diced
  • 1.5 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 2 Tbsp red onion – diced
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro – chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Avocado

My Favourite Pickling Liquid

pickled red onion and jalepeno peppers

pickled red onion and jalepeno peppers

Lately I’ve become obsessed with pickling.  It all started when I found a recipe for pickling onions in Bon Appetit Magazine and decided to pickle red onions to have with fish tacos.  They tasted AMAZING and I ended up using them on pork sandwiches, in tuna salad – and just about every other kind of salad until they were gone.  (I especially loved them with smoked salmon, which I put out as an appetizer for girls night).  Then I started adding different things to the liquid.  I added sliced jalepenos, all kinds of fresh herbs, garlic cloves, peppercorns, etc. which gave the red onions more flavour and heat.

After a few months of using up the onions over and over and throwing out the liquid each time, I realized I could reuse the liquid a few times and just throw whatever I had on hand into it!  So in went the cauliflower, cucumber and radishes.

Last night I made salmon and chopped baby heirloom tomatoes, added some minced garlic, fresh basil and oregano, salt, pepper, olive oil and feta and then added pickled radish and cucumber to make an unbelievable salsa for the fish.  It was fresh and DELICIOUS.

PICKLING LIQUID  – Ratio 2:1 water to vinegar

  • 1c warm water
  • 1/2c white wine vinegar (the recipe I had called for apple cider vinegar but I really prefer the white wine vinegar!  Either will work.  I suggest trying both and seeing what you prefer!)
  • 1T sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 red onion (or whatever you want to pickle!)

Optional:  add mustard seed, fresh herbs, garlic clove, peppercorns, jalepeno, bay leaf, etc. for different flavour options!

METHOD:  Combine water, vinegar, salt and sugar.  Shake in the jar or container you want to keep the pickled food in.  Add the food.  Seal container/jar.  Wait one hour to eat.  It’s best to use up within a week but I find that the onions lasted even longer!