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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Zucchini Parmigiana with Olives & Capers

I know I've already posted several zucchini recipes over the past few weeks, but the zucchini just keeps on coming. And coming. I picked up a CSA (community supported agriculture) delivery last week for my friends that were out of town and guess what came in it? Zucchini.

I decided to try something I've never done before: make a zucchini parmagiana. Yup, like eggplant parmigiana, but with zucchini. I don't think I'm alone when I say that I really enjoy a baked parmigiana. Maybe its the Jersey in me, but, for me, a good parmigiana with a crisp green salad is the ultimate in Italian-American comfort food.

Albeit nontraditional, I decided to throw chopped olives and capers into the parmigiana as well because 1. I love, love, love olives and capers. Can't get enough. 2. Zucchini has a very subtle flavor, so I decided to boost up the tastiness by adding ingredients that have a fuller, more assertive flavor. 3. Why the heck not?

Layer the zucchini, capers and olives with lots of basil, marinara, fresh mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and the result is pretty excellent. I made my own marinara sauce by simmering San Marzano tomatoes and fresh basil with sauteed onion, garlic and crushed red pepper. I think homemade tomato sauce always yields a better outcome, but if you're not feeling up to making your own, use a high-quality jarred variety (Rao's is great).
Just no Ragu if you can help it- it just doesn't measure up. The wonderfulness of this dish is really reliant on the quality of the individual ingredients.

Buon Appetito!

Zucchini Parmigiana with Olives & Capers

2 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/4" strips

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
vegetable oil for frying
3 cups marinara sauce

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
handful Calamata olives, pitted and chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly salt zucchini slices and place on paper towels to extract excess water. Let sit 15 minutes.

Set up a little assembly line with 3 stations: the zucchini slices, a shallow bowl with the beaten eggs, and another shallow bowl with the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Dip zucchini slices in egg and then coat in breadcrumbs. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and fry zucchini in batches until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Start assembling the parmigiana by ladling half of the marinara sauce into a 8" x 8" baking dish. Layer half of the fried zucchini on top. Top the zucchini layer with half of the mozzarella, half of the Parmesan and all of the basil, capers and olives. Top with the remaining zucchini. Spoon on the remaining marinara. Top the whole thing off with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.


  1. Yum! I've made a similar dish with eggplant, but this looks delish...

  2. OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS! Well I sure am missing the comforts of home down here in Miami, and as you know the local produce is not the same as up north...BUT I did pick up some nice zucchini this Sunday at the market! I knew I could count on you for something new and fresh Rach. I made this and I didn't even fry the zucchini! I baked it with the breadcrumbs and some olive oil and it still came out amazing! Oh my gosh the capers! Delicious touch! I loved this. I also have to say I'm a bad, bad Italian...I didn't make my own sauce! I picked some up from an Italian deli though so close! Girlfriend I am in heaven...I will definitely make this again. Thanks Rach- love you and your recipes too Jessie H