Eggplant isn’t the only vegetable that you can make alla parmigiana, fried and baked in layers with a light tomato sauce, mozzarella and grated parmesan cheese. Zucchine alla parmigiana, or Zucchini Parmesan, is almost as popular. It is a fine way to exalt the sometimes rather bland vegetable. While the delicate taste of zucchini can get a bit lost in the sauce (literally), with all those delicious flavors, who cares? It’s a fine and tasty way to use up the last zucchini of the season.
You make Zucchini Parmesan almost exactly as you would parmigiana di melanzane (Eggplant Parmesan), which we have featured before here at Memorie di Angelina, so I will not repeat the recipe. There are a few twists: I often don’t bother to salt and drain zucchini as I do eggplant, when making this or any other zucchini recipe, although many recipes do call for it. As with eggplant, size matters. Small, tender zucchini don’t need it; larger, seedy ones usually do. This late in the season, it might be a good idea.
And for this dish I decided not to use Angelina’s method of dipping the slices in flour and egg, but simply deep-fried the zucchini directly in oil. This ‘lightens’ the dish a bit, and emphasizes the taste of the other ingredients, in particular the tomato and cheese. When using this method (which is actually more popular these days than Angelina’s old-fashioned method) you need to be more stingy with the liquid ingredients, since there is no batter to soak up the excess. So use your tomato sauce sparingly and make sure to drain and pat dry the mozzarella (which can be quite watery) before using. If all else fails and the dish is watery when it is otherwise done, continue baking in a moderate oven for, say, 10-15 minutes more, to allow the excess liquid to evaporate.
Otherwise, proceed exactly as you would for eggplant, following the master recipe.
While it won’t replace Eggplant Parmesan in my pantheon of favorite dishes of all time, I do like Zucchini Parmesan an awful lot. The sweetness of the zucchini balances nicely with the acidity of the tomato—which is one reason why zucchini and tomatoes are so often paired—and the mozzarella, well… is always delicious. Try to find smallish zucchini, which are sweeter and tastier, but this is a dish that (with the precautions mentioned above) that will accommodate perfectly well older, larger vegetables.
For a very different but delicious-looking tomato-less version of Zucchini Parmesan, check out this post from one of my favorite Italian food blogs, Aglio, Olio e Peperoncino.
Gosh! This recipe was really nice and easy to prepare. My husband was very impressed!
Thanks for your comments, folks! And thanks for stopping by…
@Self L: So glad you liked it!
@Drick: Now, what's with that false modesty? I'm pretty sure you know a lot about a lot of things…;)
@lostpastremembered: I'm a bit fan of zucchinie fries as well! Do try this method, I bet you'll like it.
@smalltownboy: Thanks so much, presenting *real* Italian recipes is indeed what this blog is all about!
Hi Frank, I'm happy to see that the recipes you're posting are really italian and haven't been “americanized” :-)! It's a good way to export our cuisine in America! Best wishes for your blog, Luca
I haven't had zucchini done this way and I'm loving the deep fried idea… zucchini fries are the best~~ There are far too many zucchinis out there not to make every great recipe you find… thanks!
now I don't know a hill of beans 'bout nuttin – but I just bet the flavors of zucchini and eggplant together would be a delightful palate adventure
Using zucchini definitely would be a different flavor; different, not bad. I would guess that the tomato sauce would have to be of the absolute highest quality and flavor since the zucchini absorbs more of what it's cooked with than eggplant does.
In any event, this look delicious and like something I would truly enjoy. Thank you for sharing this less fattening version.
I was looking for some innovative recipe and was so happy I found this one. We tried it last night and all the family were real happy with dinner.
Well the lighter still version (for both dishes) is to grill the veggies instead of frying them, which I actually end up liking more because it gives the whole dish a little bit more bite…
I agree it won't take the top spot from eggplant in this dish, but one reason I like it is that the zucchini doesn't seem to soak up all the oil that eggplant does when you fry it. Good way to use up the last of the zucchini.