Last night’s dinner was supposed to be tilapia cooked with squash and tomatoes, but I just wasn’t in the mood for that when it came time to make dinner. I decided on tuna sandwiches, but I needed something to round out the meal beyond potato chips (boring and not at all nutritious) or a salad (nothing was washed or chopped).
We had zucchini that I had bought for the tilapia, so I decided to do a variation on the zucchini “chips” we have been making for a few months. I have seen recipes for breading the zucchini before baking, but I absolutely didn’t want to take the time and effort to dip each slice of zucchini in egg and then bread crumbs. I decided on a Parmesan cheese crust. The results exceeded my expectations by a long shot. And the recipe couldn’t be easier, as long as you stay in the kitchen to avoid last minute burning (and I speak from experience – though I only lost a few slices).
Parmesan Crusted Zucchini Chips
From The Cook’s Life
Serves 2-3, easy to double
Try to make just what you are going to eat in one sitting. These lose all their crispness upon storage, but they are still tasty.
2-3 zucchini, depending on size, they cook down quite a bit (I used 2 for 3 servings)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not the powder in the green can)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet, or two smaller ones.
Slice zucchini into thin rounds, about 1/8-inch, or as thin as you can. The thinner your slices, the crispier they will get. In all reality, unless you have the knife skills of a chef, or use a food processor or mandolin, you will have slices of varying thicknesses. They will all be delicious, though some slices will be crispier than others.
Arrange the zucchini slices on the prepared baking sheet(s) in a single layer. You can overlap the edges a little, since they will shrink. If you end up with some paper-thin slices, double them up so they don’t burn. Try to keep the thinner slices toward the middle of the pan and the thicker ones at the edges.
Drizzle zucchini with olive oil, but don’t drown it. Sprinkle very lightly with salt, if using, and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove them from the oven and turn each slice over with tongs. This will seem tedious, but do it or the bottoms will burn. Sprinkle the slices with the grated cheese and return to the oven. You may not use all the cheese – save the leftovers for topping at the table.
Check the zucchini every five minutes or so, and remove the slices to a plate as they get brown. Don’t wait for all of them to get crispy or you will end up with some black and inedible pieces. After 15 minutes of additional cooking, all the slices should be soft, most of them will be crispy, and the cheese will be starting to brown and crisp. Arrange all the chips on a platter or plate, in one layer so their steam doesn’t make them soggy. Scrape all the crispy cheese off the baking sheet and add it to the platter. Serve immediately.