If you like zucchini fries, you're going to lose your mind over these baked zucchini fries. We are going to build huge flavors by first browning the zucchini and then broiling it to crispy perfection. Adding on some fresh herbs and balsamic drizzle take these fantastic fries right over the top.
These zucchini fries are gluten free, vegetarian, low carb and perfect for parties!
IRRESISTIBLE ZUCCHINI FRIES
A while back, I was reading an incredible recipe for Parmesan Zucchini Chips written by Erin at The Speckled Palate. If you haven't read her blog, check it out. It's really fantastic. Not only are the recipes wonderful but her baked zucchini is fantastic. As I was drooling over the pictures it came to me how I wanted to make this recipe my own. I left immediately for my local market where the mini zucchini and wonderful fresh basil were perched on the shelf right next to one another. It just looked like they wanted to be put together and my new recipe was born. Zucchini fries with parmesan, basil and balsamic for some acidity. Yummy.
In my typical style, we were having friends over for dinner where they would be served my new recipe for zucchini fries. Really, I had no idea how they would turn out but the idea seemed really tasty to me for some reason. I made about 40 of the zucchini fries for four people. They disappeared within about 2 minutes...completely gone. Our guests mentioned that they had never had the combination of flavors. One of them said that if there was a way to improve the recipe that reduced balsamic might be a fantastic addition. Heck yeah.
Since that night, I've made these zucchini fries five times. Right now, zucchini is in season so they are incredibly inexpensive to make and the whole family loves them. We have found that the reduced balsamic is delightful and the fresh basil really adds a nice counterbalance. I've included links in the recipe for both spray balsamic (it is really easy to use) and balsamic glaze if you can't find them at your local market.
BAKED ZUCCHINI FRIES
I have tried making this recipe solely in the oven, but found a couple issues. Here they are:
- Baking the zucchini fries takes a lot longer. To get the zucchini tender enough, it takes about 20 minutes. The bigger problem is that the zucchini becomes too tender and starts to fall apart. In a hot sautee pan, the zucchini gets a nice caramelization quickly and only takes about six or seven minutes.
- Just broiling the zucchini makes them nice and brown on top, but they tend to stay completely undercooked toward the bottom. There is a really fine line between brown and burned with zucchini too, which I found out several times.
- It seems as though the perfect way to make baked zucchini fries is to saute them first, then add them to the oven to melt the cheese and develop the perfect crunchy crust.
QUICK COOKING TIP: If you are not able to find the mini-zucchini at your local market, go ahead and purchase smaller, full size zucchini. The larger zucchini will have larger seeds inside, which tend to hold too much water. The excess water will make this recipe too wet. Smaller zucchini really just work better for this recipe. Take my word for it!
Ok. Enough talk. Let's get to the zucchini fries recipe.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE ZUCCHINI FRIES RECIPE:
The funny thing about this recipe is just how quickly it all comes together. I have all the ingredients in the kitchen right now for another batch. My kids just can't seem to get enough of it! The first time I made these zucchini fries, I served them alongside my Shrimp Creole Recipe. I used less spicy seasoning and more lemon on the shrimp, which really paired well with the zucchini fries.
Some other great pairings would be with my Grilled Beer Can Chicken or Perfectly Grilled Pork Chops. Or, make a whole batch and serve on their own as a delightful appetizer for your next gathering. They are delicious both piping hot out of the oven or at room temperature. However you decide to make them, I hope that you enjoy. Happy eating!