If there’s a gene responsible for devouring anything that’s been breaded and deep fried, I’m pretty sure the menfolk in my life both have it. I recently watched them mindlessly stuffing something brown and crispy in their mouths while watching sports and it occurred to me that I could probably wrap breadcrumbs around just about anything and they’d eat it. To test this theory, I made these crispy zucchini sticks. I didn’t bother to tell them they were oven-baked, rather than deep-fried, and they ate them up so quickly that I honestly don’t think they noticed. You can serve them with whatever dip your family likes; I’ve included the recipe below for one of our favourites. Bonus tip: If you want an all-in-one meal, cut a chicken breast into strips, double the panko mixture and beat in an extra egg and you can coat the chicken the same way, place it on a lightly-greased rack and in the same amount of time you'll be serving up delicious homemade chicken fingers to go with your awesome zucchini sticks.
For the zucchini sticks:
For the dip:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of canola oil on a piece of paper towel and use it to wipe the surface of a cooling rack. Place the rack on a baking sheet and set aside.
In a broad dish (a pie plate or round cake pan works well), combine Panko, Parmesan, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a second broad dish, beat the eggs with a fork until well blended.
Put the zucchini sticks in a plastic bag and sprinkle flour over top. Twist the top of the bag shut and gently shake the bag to coat the zucchini sticks.
Remove the zucchini sticks from the bag one a time. Tap one end against your work surface to remove excess flour then dip the stick in the eggs. Place the flour and egg-coated zucchini in the Panko mixture and press gently to coat, flipping the stick to coat all sides.
Place zucchini onto prepared cooling rack; when all are coated, put the tray in the oven.
While zucchini sticks cook, combine dip ingredients in a small bowl and stir to blend well.
Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
Makes 16 sticks, enough for 2 – 3 servings.