June 2020

Zucchini Parmesan


tomato sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 (14-ounce) can plum tomatoes, preferable san marzano, with juice
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon water
salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 to 5 medium zucchini
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/2 to 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, whole tomatoes with juice, and rosemary. Gently crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Swirl the water in the can to pick up the last of the tomato juices and add to the pan. Decrease the heat and gently simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until thick and jamlike. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard the rosemary sprig. The sauce can be made ahead, stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and reheated before using. 

Trim the zucchini and slice lengthwise into 4 to 5 ribbons each. Season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 or 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or cast-iron pan. Add the zucchini, in batches if necessary, and fry until browned on both sides. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up some of the oil. Cut each piece in half, crosswise. 

In a separate skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt; transfer to a small bowl.

In the same skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over low heat. Stir in the bread crumbs and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley.

Arrange the zucchini in a 2-quart baking dish, overlapping the slices to make one dense layer. Top with the onion mixture and cover with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with the cheese, then with the bread crumbs. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake until bubbling, about 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until golden brown on top. 

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