Steve’s Dead-Easy Zucchinni Treats

All right – so I have to confess something that some folks might consider to be a little unmanly.

I like to cook.

Worse yet, I like zucchini.

Now I know that the only way that most of you are familiar with zuchinni is those endless loaves of zuchinni loaf that your sainted Aunt Mildred-Maude likes to provide you with through August, September and October.

“Oh, it will keep in the freezer,” she’ll tell you. “And it goes lovely with a cup of lukewarm tea.”

Right, Aunt Mildred-Maude.

Why don’t you blow that lukewarm tea out of your finest lace doily?

Let me tell you how I like to cook zucchini.

Well – for starters I like to slice it thin and pan fry it with an onion – because really you could pan fry toxic waste with a good-sized onion and it would taste like something the angels had put together after reading their way through the devil’s own cookbook. I’ll serve that with eggs or meat or I’ll throw in some hash browns or even a few tomatoes and that’s what I call breakfast – especially when you serve it with a good fried egg.

You can also grab yourself one of those big old peelers and peel off a bunch of slices of that zucchini and lightly saute it and it makes a passable fettuccine – for those folks  who are trying to stay away from wheat.

You can also shred it up and make fritters out of it and it goes awesome in a big old pot of soup and it works really well with spaghetti.

But let’s take a look at the nighttime when your stomach is screaming out for something greasy and salty and loaded with calories.

Let’s take a look at Steve’s Zucchini Treats.

These things are dead easy and they beat the heck out of those funky old zucchini sticks they sell you in most taverns – so that you can pretend you are eating vegetables while you are gowing down on tavern steak and french fries and onion rings.

First off start with one or two medium zucchini.

Preheat your oven to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dang – I spelled Fahrenheit without even having to resort to Spell-Check.

While the oven is heating wash that zucchini off and then slice it into quarter inch thin slices. Don’t worry about being exact. We’re not going to mark you on your knife skills.

Grab yourself a good-sized bowl and tip a bit of olive oil into the bowl. Maybe a tablespoon or two. Then grab a couple of wooden spoons or metal spoons if you don’t have wood – heck, I told you we weren’t marking you on this – and then dump the zucchini slices  into the bowl and toss them around with your spoons until the slices are slick with olive oil.

Then, grab another bowl and dump a quarter of a cup of bread crumbs and a quarter cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese – if you’re trying to impress someone. But if nobody is watching you can just use a quarter cup of already shredded Parmesan cheese. That’s all I ever do. But don’t use that Kraft in a tube Parmesan cheese. That stuff is just plain nasty.

Fork that mess up and then add a bit of salt, pepper and garlic.

I like to use the fancy Italian bread crumbs that are already pre-spiced but this something you don’t really have to fuss about. Bread, cheese and spice – that’s your holy trinity of Mediterranean-style cooking.

Dip each slice of zucchini into the bread crumbs and cheese and make sure they are good and coated. Then spray a big old cookie sheet with Pam or whatever you want to call her. Then place the coated zucchini slices onto the pan. I like to add a little extra pinch of the bread crumbs and cheese onto the top of each slice – but that’s just me being fussy.

Bake those slices for about 25 minutes. 30 minutes if you want them extra-crispy. About five minutes before that oven bell goes ding you ought to open up a cold beer.

Or some wine if you like – but wine always gives me heartburn.

Serve him up hot and watch your friends and family gawp and stare and wonder to themselves just how in the heck did you become such a gourmet chef.

Don’t tell them I taught it to you.

Pop them into your mouth and grin.

The zucchini that is – NOT your friends and family.


Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

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