Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Perfect Side Dish for Dinner Tonight: Parmesan Cheese-Crusted Zucchini!

Needing a little break from the delicious, albeit slightly carbohydrate laden, pasta-fest I've been indulging in recently, I flipped to a portion of “Savor the Moment” I have not yet dared to explore. That would be the section with the, gulp, vegetables! As I've mentioned before, I am not the biggest vegetable fan. Over the past few years, however, I have made a concerted effort to learn to like them, or, at least, some of them.

Growing up, my Mom liked to cook veggies to a very soft consistency. It seems everyone in my family liked them that way…but me. As it turns out, steamed vegetables still retain a lot of their crunch and texture which, to my amazement, I do like! Granted, I’m not running out to buy broccoli anytime soon but I really do enjoy spinach, asparagus, zucchini, squash, and most green beans. As an accompaniment to baked chicken breasts, this evening I decided on the Parmesan Cheese-Crusted Zucchini (pg. 223). The subtitle reads “This is a simple, flavorful accompaniment for almost anything,” which is so true! The flavors are very tasty but not obtrusive and what’s not to love about anything preceded by “Parmesan cheese-crusted?” In addition to the zucchini, the ingredients include olive oil, green onions, garlic, fresh basil and, of course, grated Parmesan cheese.




To prepare, I trimmed and sliced the zucchini and popped them along with the green onions into a heated saute pan. After sautéing a few minutes in olive oil, I added the garlic and basil and sautéed for about 10 minutes more. You can adjust the cooking time according to how you like your veggies cooked. My Mom and I could actually both make this dish and be equally happy with it (just not at the same time). If you like firmer veggies, sauté for less time and if you like them with a softer consistency, sauté ‘em a little (or alot) longer. I think the most important part is, as long as the cheese is deliciously bubbly and golden brown when you pull them out of the oven, it's all good! This is such a tasty little side dish I had to include the recipe:

Parmesan Cheese-Crusted Zucchini (pg. 223 in “Savor the Moment”)
4 medium zucchini
2 Tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup sliced green onions
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ cup coarsely shopped fresh basil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Trim the zucchini and cut into ¼-inch slices. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and green onions and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and basil and sauté for 10 minutes or until the garlic is tender but not brown.
Arrange the zucchini in a single layer in a baking dish. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
Serves four.

It’s soooo easy to make and perfect for pairing with a variety of meals, healthy or otherwise. Marinate some boneless, skinless chicken breasts and pop them onto your grill pan or serve with a broiled or baked fish like tilapia. It’s so easy you could really go home and make it tonight! (so why don't you?) However you decide to serve the Parmesan Cheese-Crusted Zucchini, I really hope you enjoy it. I'd really love to hear about it if you do - cheers!

4 comments:

  1. Stephanie, I'm planning our weekend meals right now while we're on the South Beach Phase I diet and thanks to you I've got a great new recipe to try. The zucchini and Parmesan were meant for each other. I'm book marking this. Thanks.
    Sam

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  2. This looks great, what a wonderful way to dress up zucchini. I'm sure its delish with the cheese :)

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  3. wow do these look terrific...love that melted cheese look

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  4. Your mom's vegetable cooking technique sounds like my mom's technique too! Parmesean sprinkled on anything and browned makes it so much better!

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