Photos by Emily Caruso
Zucchini season is just around the corner and of all the ways you can use zucchini (stuff it! spiralize it! make it into chips!), I have to say that breading it is my favorite. It turns limp, bland zucchini into something crispy and full of flavor. So basically, it’s magic.
Even though I love breaded zucchini, I really hate making it. It takes forever and near the end you’ve got more breadcrumbs on your fingers than on the zucchini. But here’s a secret I’ve learned—instead of slicing the zucchini into rounds, if you slice it into large slabs, you cut that time spent dipping and dredging and breading by more than half. So much easier.
The first few times I made breaded zucchini this way, I just served them on a plate with marinara and basil. Then I realized their shape was perfect for a sub sandwich. If you’ve ever had an eggplant parmesan sub before, the concept is pretty much the same—after the zucchini is breaded and baked to crispy perfection, it’s layered onto bread with mozzarella, marinara, and fresh basil. If you want to go a little lighter on the bread, you can use thin slices and make these into panini instead.
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Oil mister or cooking spray
- 1 baguette or loaf of Italian bread cut in half, then sliced lengthwise
- 4-6 slices mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup marinara sauce room temperature or warmed
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 400ªF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the ends off the zucchini, then slice each lengthwise into thirds. The slices should be between 1/4- and 1/2-inch thick.
- Whisk egg and milk together in a wide, shallow bowl. On a plate, combine the panko, parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Spread the flour on another plate.
- Working one slice at a time, dredge the zucchini in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip the zucchini in the egg mixture, then press it into the panko mixture, making sure the zucchini is evenly coated and no bare spots remain.
- Place the zucchini on the baking sheet and spray with oil. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through the cooking time. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn on the broiler.
- Divide the zucchini slices evenly on the bottom halves of the bread. Top with the cheese slices. Put the open sandwiches back on the baking sheets and place the top halves of the bread, cut side up, on the baking sheets with them. Broil until the top halves of the bread are lightly toasted and the cheese has melted, 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spoon the marinara sauce over the cheese, then scatter the basil leaves over the sauce. Place the top half of the bread on the bottom half and press down gently. Use a serrated knife to cut each half of the baguette into halves to make four sandwiches total and serve.