Zucchini is back! And early tomatoes, among other things, and my fridge is full of all the edible colours and I am delighted. I’ve started buying large amounts of things to turn into freezer meals for when I no longer have the energy to feed myself or the ability to reach the stove, which should happen right around the end of the harvest season. I am in the process of assembling zucchini parmigiana in foil containers (no dishes!), and had extra bits, and thought they’d be quite excellent in sandwiches.
For the sandwiches, I fried the zucchini instead of roasting it, and used leftover marinara sauce. You can make it fresh, if you like – I quite like this one from Smitten Kitchen with a bit of fresh basil – or you can use whatever you have hanging around in your fridge or pantry. Something simple with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and herbs should do just fine. Any plain sandwich bun will do, and whole wheat would probably be nice.
These smell fabulously summery, and in spite of their crispy fried bits and garlic-toasty top half, they’re pretty light. The tomatoes and basil play well with the breaded zucchini, and there is just the tiniest bit of spice from the Tabasco and red pepper flakes. They would be excellent with cold beer or red wine, and beg to be eaten on a patio in the sunshine. Maybe your Meatless Monday is warm and summery? We had to make do with pretend as it’s been damp and grey around here, but these certainly brightened our moods.
Zucchini parmigiana sandwiches
(Serves six to eight.)
- 8 buns, such as Kaiser or Calabrese
- 1 lb. zucchini, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds (about 24 pieces)
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp. Tabasco or other hot sauce
- 1 cup panko
- Zest of one lemon
- 3 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded Provolone
- 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 16 basil leaves
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Slice buns in half horizontally and set aside.
Whisk together eggs and Tabasco. Combine panko with lemon zest, and stir to combine. Dredge zucchini slices first in egg, then in bread crumbs. Fry in a large pan over medium-high heat, in grapeseed or olive oil, until golden, 90 seconds to two minutes per side.
Place on a plate lined with paper towel and sprinkle with salt while still hot.
Preheat oven to broil.
In a small bowl, mush together butter, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper (taste and adjust seasonings as desired). Divide equally between the eight buns, spreading on the top half only. Place on a large baking sheet.
Place zucchini slices, two to three per bun, on the other half of each bun. Top with two tablespoons each marinara sauce and provolone, and place on the same baking sheet as the top halves.
Place under broiler and cook until cheese has melted and the buttered half has turned golden, two to three minutes.
Finish each sandwich with fresh tomato slices and basil leaves. Serve hot, with lightly dressed greens on the side. Enjoy!