By: Chef Peter Webster – Bouquet Garni
With so many tomatoes around, I was looking to find a use for them. My garden is loaded with tomatoes and there are only so many one can use in a salad. I decided I would try a quick tomato sauce by roasting the tomatoes instead of boiling the skins to remove them. Roasting the tomatoes and onions and herbs brings out the natural sugars for a beautiful sauce.
Marva, my sous-chef gave me a huge yellow zucchini from her garden. It was then I decided to try a zucchini parmesan. You need three pans to prepare the zucchini. One is for flour to dust the zucchini slices. The second is for the egg mixture and the third is for the bread crumbs. It is a little bit of work to prepare this dish but if you start with the tomato sauce, by the time the zucchini is prepared, the tomato sauce will be finished and you are ready for the oven.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
• 3 to 4 lbs tomatoes, halved
• 1 sweet onion. Chopped
• 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
• 1/2 to 3/4 cup basil
• 2 branches of fresh thyme
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
Toss all the ingredients in a baking pan. Bake in a hot oven, 400º, for about one hour until the tomato skins turn a bronze colour and are softened. Using a blender, roughly puree the tomato sauce.
As mentioned, I was given a huge zucchini and I cut it into 1/4 inch slices. Use enough of your own zucchini as you will need for the number of guests. You may decide to peel the zucchini or not.
• Sliced zucchini, about 1/4 inch thickness
• 1/2 cup flour in a flat pan
• 4-6 eggs slightly beaten with salt and pepper
• 2-3 cups of bread crumbs mixed with 1 cup parmesan cheese, a pinch of fine herbs and salt and pepper
• Oil for frying
• Sliced mozzarella or Jack cheese
Dip the zucchini slices in the flour and shake of excess.
Dip the slices into the egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs onto the slice. Place slices onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all slices are prepared.
In a frying pan, heat a little oil until hot. Fry the zucchini slices, a few at a time, until golden brown on each side. I used a paper towel after each batch, wiping out the frying pan so the bits of leftover bread and cheese would not burn and give a bad taste to the next batch of zucchini slices.
In a baking dish, coat the bottom with some tomato sauce. Place the cooked zucchini on top. Add a slice of cheese and top with tomato sauce. Finish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. You can also double the layers of zucchini, sauce and cheese.
Bake in the oven, 350º, for about 30 to 40 minutes until the sauce is bubbly.