ZUCCHINI PARM // the local food report

"Sauce. Zucchini. Sauce. Parm." Victoria makes layering motions with her hands as she talks. She points to the squash that she grew—the Eight Ball and the One Ball—hybrids from a farm in Colorado that specializes in breeding these sorts of things. Cucurbits, they call them. They are summer squash, like zucchini, but perfectly round. 

And this is how she eats them. Thick homemade sauce. Good grated Parmesan. Thin slices, on the round, floured and dipped in egg batter. Fried in coconut oil, or lard. She's Italian, and this is her family recipe for Zucchini Parmesan. I wish I had a picture for you, something of the finished product, but we ate it so fast last night I forgot to take a shot. It is that good. So while the season lasts, enjoy.


Victoria is Italian by descent. She says you can make this recipe with either summer squash or eggplant; both work equally well. That said, it's a good way to use up a motherlode of zucchini. 

6-8 tablespoons olive oil, coconut oil, butter, or lard
2 medium size summer squash, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
a dash of water
fine grain sea salt and pepper to taste
2 cups thick tomato sauce, preferably homemade
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large ball mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Warm up 1-2 tablespoons lard or whatever fat you choose in a large frying pan over medium heat. Put the flour in a shallow bowl. Whisk together the eggs, a dash of water, and the salt and pepper in another shallow bowl. Dip each squash slice first in flour, then in the egg wash and fry until golden brown on both sides. You will only be able to fit a few squash rounds at a time in the pan, so you'll need to add more fat as you run low.

Get out a 9-inch pie plate or casserole dish. Spoon a bit of sauce on the bottom, then put on a layer of zucchini. Add 1/3 of the ricotta, a bit of Parm, then sauce, then zucchini again. Continue layering like this until you run out of squash and cheese. Top the dish with a bit of sauce and all of the mozzarella. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese starts to bubble. Turn the oven to broil and broil for 2-5 minutes, until the mozzarella is golden brown. Let rest 10 minutes, then serve. 


Anonymous said...

Elspeth, I made a variation on this for dinner last night, and it was fabulous. I used Zephyr yellow squash, which were long and thinnish -- so the individual slices were too small to fuss with the flour and egg dipping you did. I just greased a casserole and layered it with homemade tomato sauce, the thinly sliced Zephyr squash, garbanzo beans, thinly sliced rounds of red pepper, and grated Fontina cheese. I topped it with some Parmesan and baked it at 350 until it was bubbly hot. Deeeee-lish! We served it with sauteed greens and onions from our garden and some nice crusty bread. Summer eating doesn't get any better than it is right now. ~XO, Mama

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