Parmesan Crusted Zucchini

Ah, zucchini. It's a summer staple at farm stands and backyard gardens all over New England, and there are so many ways to prepare it. One of our family favorites is this easy and delicious side dish. Although we used small zucchini for the recipe here, you can use any size you have on hand.

Ingredients to serve 5 or 6:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

5 small zucchini, halved lengthwise

1/4 cup butter, melted

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon dried Tuscan herbs (or Italian seasoning)

1 cup panko bread crumbs

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 cup finely shaved Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 F.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment and brush with the tablespoon of oil (or use a bit of cooking spray.) Arrange the zucchini halves, cut sides up, on the foil and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the melted butter, minced garlic, and dried herbs. Stir in the panko with a fork, tossing until well combined. Add the ground pepper and then fold in the Parmesan cheese. The mixture should be light and fluffy.

Use a spoon to heap the Parmesan cheese mixture onto the zucchini halves and bake in a 425 F oven until the cheese melts and turns and brown and crispy. Serve hot, optionally with a side of marinara sauce for drizzling over.

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