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Fried Zucchini Bruschetta with Fresh Mozzarella

Posted Oct 07 2008 6:12pm

Editor’s note: Welcome to Almost Fit. This post is this week’s Friday Fit recipe. The idea is to try “real food” recipes that can be prepared on the weekend. If you enjoy this article, please consider subscribing. Thanks.

fried squash with bruschetta

With fall finally here, in many parts of the country it’s time to start pawning off garden-grown squash as fast as is humanly possible. Growing up in a squash-friendly growing zone, it was not uncommon to open our front door in the morning and find a paper bag full of homeless squash having been randomly delivered by a mysterious, mythical creature under cover of darkness.

These days, while we rarely have a visit from the Great Pumpkin or his lesser-known comrade, the Squash Fairy, we do seem to have an awful lot of squash growing, and have to act fast.

So other than carving faces in them or dropping bags of them off in the middle of the night on  neighborhood porches, what do you do with all that squash?

Like most things, if in doubt, FRY IT. Of course, the key is moderation, but squash has a way of filling you up quickly, so it’s a good option for a tasty fried indulgence.

This is a recipe that my wife makes, and we all feel it is a more than acceptable use of zucchini squash. Here’s what she says:

“This is a late summer, abundance of runaway zucchini version of Italian bruschetta.

We often miss a stray zucchini in the garden and within days, we have a rocket size squash on our hands.  When this happens, we love to slice it and fry it like you would an eggplant.”

Friday Fit Recipe #13: Fried Zucchini Bruschetta and Fresh Mozzarella

This recipe calls for a simple herb and flour dredge that really adds a lot of flavor to the zucchini. For this version of bruschetta, the zucchini replaces the traditional grilled bread. The basic tomato topping is also a great way to “use up” some of the tomatoes in the garden, particularly if you had a late ripening like we did this year.

If we have leftovers, we use them later, chopped up and put into soups or sauces. The flavor is an excellent addition.

[Ed. Update: Sheesh. So the original post did not show the recipe number (see the heading, above). I have had huge problems this week with my site due to “server abusers”, and the loss of the script that automates this process is one of the casualties. My apologies for showing a little of what’s under the covers. In other words, “Folks, move along…nothing to see here….”]

Ingredients

One large zucchini (approx. 3-5 inches diameter) sliced into 1/2″ thick rounds
2 cups of herb flour mix (11/2 c. flour, 1/2 c. masa or corn meal, 1 tsp each dry thyme, oregano or marjoram, basil and a pinch of ground sage, salt and pepper)
3-4 fresh vine ripe tomatoes, (preferably different varieties for color)
1 sm. sweet onion, preferably a Walla Walla sweet or cippollini, finely diced
Lots of fresh basil - about two large leaves per slice of zucchini
1-2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
10 or so ounces of fresh mozarella

Olive oil for frying

Serves 4, depending on the length of the zucchini

Preparation

For the tomato topping: Seed and dice the tomatoes.  Finely chop the onion and garlic. Mix in a bowl and toss with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  You can either finely chop the basil and add it to the tomato mixture, or you can leave the leaves whole and add them when you assemble the final dish (our usual preference).

Zucchini: Pat the zucchini slices with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. In a large cast iron skillet, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, and heat to medium-high.  Coat one slice of zucchini at a time with the flour mixture and carefully place in the slices in the pan in a single layer.  Leave enough room in the pan so that the slices are not touching each other.  You will need to fry several batches.  Depending on how much you are cooking, you may need to add more oil to the pan between batches, letting the added oil heat before you add more slices.  Cook the zucchini for several minutes or until golden brown before turning.  Cooking times will vary.

Remove the fried zucchini and place onto a platter lined with paper towels.  Immediately place about 1 tablespoon of the tomato topping on each zucchini slice.  Top with about a tablespoon of fresh mozzarella.

Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a bit of fresh basil, salt and pepper and serve warm.

To Serve

It is best served as soon after cooking as possible, however as it can get a bit soggy if it sits for too long.  Our children love this dish!

Notes

In the U.S. (I am not sure about elsewhere), there has apparently been a semantic shift on what the term, “bruschetta,” actually means. Most Americans think of bruschetta as the tomato, onions, garlic, and herbs that are usually added to a grilled slice of artisan bread. However, the traditional meaning of bruschetta is actually little more than the grilled bread itself rubbed with garlic and then dipped in olive oil, with toppings (if any) added based on what you’ve got. (See this article on bruschetta on Wikipedia for more information.)

In classic Italian form, it sounds an awful lot like eating seasonally. :)

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