Here I go again playing with my food!
The other day I was cleaning out my freezer, or at least looking to see what I had in there that has been hiding for a long long time and I came across some panko bread crumbs (Japanese bread crumbs) and some chopped pistachios that I had left over from making cannolis a while back.
I love zucchini and I had bought some smaller ones recently and decided to make this dish to go with some grilled fish my hub was making for dinner.
I learned to play with food way back when I had a semester of Garde Manger. This was when I first made sushi (never tasted it), I did my first and only ice carving, cooked all kinds of organ meats, did terrines, galantines, plate painting and learned to make all sorts of vegetable garnishes. I would go home from this class all eager to go to the grocery and buy an arm full of vegetables and start carving away. I remember trying to make this staircase from carrots. That was a disaster. I’ve done kiwi birds, napa cabbage angels, pear reindeer and even Mario boiled eggs (yes, they did look like Mario).
So I have learned to fan things like pickles for a plate garnish, strawberry fans for garnishing desserts, pears and these zucchini fans. The trick is to have the smallest zucchini you can buy. I think these were a little too big. They were the smaller ones but not small enough. The smaller they are, the easier to cut.
This rosemary came from my herb garden. I love having all my herbs just a few steps from my kitchen door and here in Texas, almost all of them make it through our winter.
A few quick chops with my ulu blade and the rosemary is fragrant and ready to be used in whatever dish I’m preparing.
Lay out the zucchini fans carefully on a pan that you have coated with cooking spray. If the zucchini don’t fan out enough, use your knife and cut a little closer to the stems. If they break, no big deal, just arrange them in fanned pattern. Drizzle with the oil, panko, salt and pepper, rosemary, Parmesan, and the pistachios.
Pistachio Zucchini Fans
4-6 very small (individual size) zucchini (or however many guest you have)
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 c. chopped pistachio nuts
2-3 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (more for garnishing)
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°.
Using a very sharp knife and starting at the tip end cut very thin slices (1/8″ if you can do it) from the tip to almost the stem. Do not cut through stem end of zucchini.
Spray foil lined pan or pan with cooking spray. Arrange the zucchini on the baking sheets and carefully spread apart the slices to fan out on sheet. Drizzle each fanned zucchini with some olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then some of the rosemary, Parmesan, Panko crumbs and pistachio nuts.
Bake in 350° oven until the topping has browned nicely, about 10-15 minutes. You don’t want to overcook because they will become too limp. Carefully put one fanned zucchini on each dinner plate and serve.