We're big on Italian-American comfort food at our house. Joe grew up in a traditional Italian-American family in New Jersey, and I'm from Pittsburgh, so this is familiar territory for us. (My standard is the version they make at Minutello's in Shadyside.) We picked up some fresh, in-season zucchini at the Fair Food Farmstand and decided to forgo the traditional Fourth of July grill-fest.
Zucchini parm is a relatively simple dish, but there are a few stages involved in its making, so it can be a little time-consuming.
First: get yourself some good, fresh zucchini. Ideally, it'll be from your backyard, but if you're like us and don't have a backyard, the local farmer's market will do. Three or four small ones will be plenty.
Next: Slice it lengthwise, as thin as you can get it. We used a mandoline to do the slicing, which makes things much easier. Make an egg wash in a bowl: two eggs, a splash of water, and some salt and pepper. Then spread some bread crumbs out on a plate-- you can use boxed, but we just threw some leftover bread into the food processor for a minute. Dip the zucchini slices in egg and bread them, then fry them in about 1/4 inch of oil until they are nice and brown.
It's helpful to have two people for this stage-- one breading and one frying. If you're slicing as thin as you can, you'll have a lot of slices to fry!
As you finish frying the slices, let them cool for a few minutes, then put a layer of zukes at the bottom of a casserole pan. Cover the layer with marinara sauce. (Yes, we used a jar-- the organic stuff from Trader Joe's is perfectly fine if you don't have the time to Martha Stewart some from scratch.) You can add a bit of cheese at this point-- parmesan is good; we used Idiazabal. Add another layer of zucchini, top with another layer of sauce. Repeat until you're out of zucchini. Top with sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Put the casserole in a 350-degree oven. It won't need long-- 20 minutes at most, but keep an eye on it. You just want to heat it through and brown the cheese.
Slice and serve hot with a glass of red wine. Good stuff-- tasty, soul-satisfying, and great for vegetarians.