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Zucchini sticks are strips of zucchini squash that are cut about the size of french fries. The various methods for preparing zucchini sticks can include pan frying, deep frying, baking, grilling or boiling. Some people even enjoy munching on raw zucchini strips. The mild taste of zucchini can be enhanced with the addition of savory dips and sauces.
Fried zucchini sticks are a favorite with diners of all ages. Their handy serving size makes fried zucchini an easy and fun way to eat vegetables. Strips of zucchini can be coated in batter, fried to a golden crisp and served alone or with various dips, including salad dressing, onion dip, salsa, mayonnaise, ketchup and more.
Zucchini squash is renowned by chefs for its availability and ease of preparation. Known as a summer squash, zucchini generally is available all year and is fairly inexpensive in comparison with many other vegetables. Unlike winter squashes that have tough outer skins and seeds that are inedible, zucchini can be cut into sticks with ease, and except for the stem, the entire zucchini can be eaten and enjoyed. Its soft inner flesh will hold a firm shape as long as it is not sliced too thin.
It is important for a cook to thoroughly wash and rinse the skin before preparing zucchini sticks. It should be dried with a paper towel, and the ends should be cut off. The squash should then be slices lengthwise into six long pieces, and each long strip should be cut in half, resulting in 12 sticks about 3 inches (7.6 cm) long.
Fried zucchini sticks are just one of the ways that a chef can prepare this popular squash. It also can be sliced into thick strips or round vegetable chips to be served on a mixed vegetable tray. The zucchini's skin can be light or dark green in color, and its white inner pulp makes an appetizing contrast on a salad plate. Zucchini sticks can also be added to hot or cold soups as well as vegetable chili and stews.
Cooking with zucchini squash is fast, and overcooking should be avoided. When exposed to heat, the soft inner pulp of a zucchini can quickly become watery and limp, which can ruin the dish. Baked or fried zucchini sticks taste best when they have a good, firm bite. Some cooks will remove the seeds from zucchini sticks to help reduce moisture when cooking and to preserve the firmness of the squash.
My Italian grandmother taught me how to make fried zucchini sticks, and now they're a tradition around my house. For health reasons, I mostly make oven fried zucchini sticks these days, but for holidays I will break out the deep fryer and make them the original way.
I also like to make zucchini bread and zucchini casseroles if I can get a good deal on zucchini at the grocery store. My children still prefer to see a pile of zucchini fries on the table, though.
I worked for a fast food restaurant chain that offered zucchini fries as a side item. They were really popular, mostly because they were different than potato-based fries and not offered at too many other places. It was my job to prep the zucchini strips and par-fry them until a customer ordered them. I think frying the sticks twice is a good way to go in general, anyway. It keeps the zucchini moist and the outside crispy.
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