About a year and a half ago, JJ and I were given a gift card to Maggiano's for our 2nd anniversary. We had never been there before, so we had the server sort of choose our menu for the night. We started with the appetizer combination platter, and the shining star of that dish was the fried zucchini with aioli. I can't say I remember much else about that meal, the zucchini was the star of the show! It was crispy and flavorful, and the aoili was the perfect pairing. I'm usually not a fan of creamy based sauces or ranch dressings, but this was phenomenal. We haven't been back to Maggiano's, but this zucchini has been on my mind since then, and I had been meaning to recreate it at home.
On our weekly Farmer's Market excursion this week, like every week, I haphazardly pointed at produce and baskets and filled up my cart. I find that it's easier to go there first, see what looks best, then take it home and plan a weekly menu around it. I bought 2 baskets of zucchini, so I began to brainstorm some meal ideas. This simple dish was easily put together with only pantry staples, it's flavorful, cheap and easy to make. While I'm sure it would taste great fried, I actually preferred the baked version. For the aioli, I used Greek Yogurt rather than mayo, and I think it tasted better than the mayo version. The tang of the yogurt replaced the need for mayo + vinegar in the aioli, and it gave a punch of additional protein to the dish.
Crunchy Baked Zucchini Planks with Garlic-Lemon Aioli
inspired by Maggiano's
3 medium zucchini
1/2 c. unbleached AP Flour
1 egg + 2 tbsp. water
1 c. panko breadcrumbs
1/2 c. Italian style breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, grated
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 c. plain 2% or fat-free Greek yogurt
Salt and white pepper
Wash zucchini, slice off ends. Slice into 1/4" thin strips.
Line a colander with tea towels, lay zucchini slices in colander, salt, and add another towel on top, repeating the process until all zucchini are salted and covered.
Place a bowl inside to press zucchini and set aside for 30 minutes.
(This step isn't necessary, but will keep zucchini extra crisp and less mushy when cooked)
In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, lemon juice and zest, yogurt, salt and pepper.
Taste, add more salt and pepper if necessary.
Add minced parsley, about 1 tsp.
Cover and place in the refrigerator.
Lay 3 shallow bowls out on the counter and a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack.
In the bowl closest to the baking sheet, toss together breadcrumbs.
In the center bowl, crack the egg and whisk in water and 2 tbsp. flour, salt and pepper.
In the farthest bowl, pour in the remaining flour.
Preheat the oven to 425*
Wipe down the excess moisture from zucchini slices, dredge in flour, then dip in egg, and press into the breadcrumbs.
Place on the baking sheet and repeat until all zucchini is coated.
Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
Place planks on a platter and serve with aioli in a dish on the side.