Boredom is an occupational hazard of seasonal cooking. By the end of July you have served summer squash and tomatoes exactly 47 1/2 times and the season is just approaching its peak. This week when I mentioned tomatoes and summer squash to Nancy, a weekly attendee at my Eastern Market demos, she asked pointedly, “how are you going to make it different from the other tomato and zucchini recipes you’ve made over the past 8 weeks?”
She had me. I had combined tomatoes and squash in meatloaf and goulash. Sautéing them and tossing them together with fresh herbs is a treat in early summer, but it doesn’t cut it as we head into August. Somewhere between fried zucchini and a cherry tomato sauce Nancy said, “This sounds like Zucchini Parmesan.” And so it is. Stovetop style.
The zucchini is breaded with Panko and Herbes de Provence making it crisp and light. The fresh cherry tomato sauce gets depth from anchovy paste and brightness from a nicely acidic Late Harvest Zinfandel vinegar. The flavor is rich like a winter braise and light like a summer sauté. It’s anything but boring and everything that summer veggies at their peak are meant to be.
Summer Squash Parmesan
I’m going to beat you to the punch. Yes, you need to fry the summer squash in plenty of olive oil. I tried going light with a tablespoon or two, there wasn’t enough depth to reach in between the Panko crumbs and make the squash really crispy. You want healthy, try this zucchini meatloaf. Otherwise, go right on ahead and indulge yourself. You deserve it!
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbs milk
- 2 tbs Herbes de Provence
- 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
- 1 medium summer squash or zucchini, sliced in 1/3” inch rounds
- 4-6 tbs olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp anchovy paste
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 tbs Late Harvest Zinfandel vinegar**
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
**I don’t know how Renee found a red wine vinegar that has this much acidity while still maintaining balance. It packs a punch without being overbearing. Buy some online at DC’s Sapore or use a good red wine vinegar from your home pantry.
- Whisk together eggs and milk in a shallow bowl, season with salt and pepper.
- Mix Herbes de Provence and bread crumbs in a bowl. Put half in a pie plate.
- Dip squash in the egg wash and then in the bread crumbs. Press the crumbs onto squash. When the Panko in the plate gets wet and clumpy, discard it and add the reserved half of the mix.
- Fry squash over medium heat in 2-3 tbs olive oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
- In a separate pan sauté garlic over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add anchovy paste and cook another 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add tomatoes and cook 5-6 min until softened.
- Add the vinegar to the pan and scrape up all the tasty brown bits in the bottom. Let the vinegar reduce to coat the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve the fried squash topped with the tomato sauce and sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Reflect on how good life is.