I started the evening with the idea that, due to not feeling 100 percent, I was going to start a juice and brown rice fast tonight. No big meal here, no sirree.
The husband came home and suggested making something with the two tremendously, obscenely huge zucchini squash a work friend had sent home with him a few days ago. They still sat, looming, largely, on the kitchen counter. “Just slice them, and I’ll grill them,” he said.
Oh, my love, it’s never that simple for a fancy pants foodie.
I sliced one into rounds. Seriously, y’all, the slices were 5 or 6 inches across. They were a bit scary. And they were starting to remind me of… eggplant.
What do you make with eggplant? Eggplant Parmesan. Except we don’t really care for eggplant in our house. Even better.
I had to quickly vow to myself that I was NOT going to the store. This had to be one of those “use what’s in the house” kind of things. So here’s what I did.
I tossed the slices in some olive oil, then sprinkled them with my currently-favorite seasoning mix of Italian herbs and red pepper flakes. (Don’t add salt yet, or you’ll get smooshy zucchini.) I also did a light dusting of garlic and onion powders. If I were in less of a hurry, I would have minced the real thing.
The hubs grilled them. They were lovely.
Digging desperately in the freezer, I found a tomato sauce I had recently made, similar to this one but with green bell peppers and ground beef. I had wanted the meal to be vegetarian, but this is what I had. So be it.
I put a layer of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish, then dabbed the excess moisture out of four zucchini slices and placed them in the bottom. I sprinkled on a bit of kosher salt.
Instead of battering and frying the zucchini, I just added a bit of texture with some panko crumbs. Mine were of the gluten-free variety, which I found at a local health food store. Spendy, but nice.
The next layer: Cheesy, pre-sliced mozzarella cheese. Kroger brand. (I’m staying committed to the use-what’s-here thing, people.) If you so desire, some medallions of fresh mozzarella would be lovely here. Top that with shredded parmesan, of which I was running precariously low. I nearly took off a fingertip with the Microplane trying to manage my remaining wedge.
Next step: Fresh basil, from my plant in the front flower bed. A couple leaves had been visited by some sort of munching bug; I informed my husband they were “pre-licked.” He was okay with it.
The dish was finished off with another layer of zucchini slices (carefully dabbed of excess moisture as before), the last of the tomato sauce, and another dousing of parmesan.
Oven. 350. Twenty minutes or, as they say, until done.
I’ll fast or something later.