Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Parmesan with a side of Zucchini

If I was stranded on a deserted island and I could only have one kind of cheese it would be a nice big hunk of parm! My kitchen is never without fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Yep, I splurge and buy the good stuff. Only the authentic cheese from the Parma region (and several nearby provinces) of Italy is able to don the name "Parmigiano Reggiano." It's my go to cheese and is worth every penny. I buy it in large wedges at Costco and cut off small hunks to grate as needed. This hard cheese is easy to store and has a long shelf life (in the fridge that is). I just pop it into a ziploc bag. If I know I'm going to use it multiple days during the week I will grate about a cups worth and store it in a small tupperware in the fridge for easy sprinkling on top of this or that. Fresh parm is not only an enhancement to oodles of dishes, it's excellent eaten straight up. I often take the tip of my knife and carve out a tiny chunk to go straight in my mouth! This tasty cheese has a distinct flavor.... strong yet subtle if that makes any sense. I love the coarse texture and salty bite. In my house parm graces everything from salads, soups, gratins, homemade pizza, pasta dishes and garlic bread to vegetables of all kinds. My #1 veggie to pair with my #1 cheese is zucchini.

Luckily one of Hubby's favorite dishes is Zucchini Parmesan. Now. There was a time when my husband wouldn't eat zucchini at all. But a gym membership and a quest for more healthful eating convinced him to give this squash another try a little over a year ago. In the summer months we grill it with just olive oil, salt and pepper and in the cooler months we bake it. Baking it is my preference because of the parmesan. This slightly salty, nutty cheese caramelizes into a barely crisp finish that melds perfectly with zucchini. There are never any leftovers when I make this. I always count on 1 to 1 1/2 zucchinis per person. Hubby has become such a fan of this that he always hinting that I need to make more. Maybe one night I'll prepare a zucchini only dinner! I have a few other tasty zucchini recipes up my sleeve! And I'd be down for an zucchini feast anytime!

Zucchini Parmesan Recipe:
Serves 2

3 medium zucchini
1/4 - 1/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan (I use the small side of a box grater)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non stick cooking spray. Slice zucchini long ways into 1/4 inch strips and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Lightly brush zucchini with olive oil and salt and pepper each strip to taste. Though parmesan is a salty cheese, salt is still needed. I like to grind fresh sea salt. Top each strip with a generous coating of parmesan cheese. Bake for 20 minutes until zucchini is tender and cheese is browned.

No comments:

Post a Comment