August 15, 2011 | Popular, Vegetables
When zucchini plants start producing, they gain momentum and can take over your garden, your kitchen, and your diet. I’m always trying to think of something new to do with them, and frankly trying to think of ways I’ll enjoy eating them as I’m not much of a fan of plain zucchini. Last week it came to me – if I baked them into chips, I could eat them in place of potato chips – you get that crunchy, salty mouth-feel in a healthier snack.The first time I went to cooking school Italy, in a little hilltown just north of Rome, we made a fabulous fresh zucchini salad with mint. The zucchini were little tiny things like this – tender with almost no visible seeds in the center. The flowers are still lovely enough to use for another dish as well, making it ideal to harvest at this size.But every year, because I plant WAY too many zucchini plants, I can’t keep up and my zucchini grow overnight into these huge vegetables. Remember, if they are large, you need to cut out the spongy seeds from the center before cooking.I selected the most slender long ones to thinly cut into slices for my baked zucchini chips. Since they were slender, the seeds were less of an issue. You’ll need either a very stead hand with your sharp knife or a mandoline to cut them thinly.Spread them on a baking sheet lined with a silicone liner (or parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray). They can be very close together because they’ll shrink in the oven – just don’t let them overlap. Spray very lightly with olive oil or canola oil spray over the top and sprinkle with salt. You could season with other spices as well at this point, but I wanted a clean fresh chip.Be careful not to over salt your baked zucchini chips – when they shrink down they’ll have a more concentrated taste. Bake at your oven’s lowest setting until crisp. I did mine at 175 F for a tad over 2 hours – they actually could have gone another 30 minutes for a totally crisp texture.Remember, baked zucchini chips shrink so much in the drying process that one medium zucchini ends up being about 1 serving of chips, so plan accordingly. Store in a covered container – that is, if you can keep your hands off them and actually have any left to store!
- 4 medium zucchini (long and thin), sliced very thinly
- cooking spray
- sea salt
- Line baking sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Lay zucchini slices on baking sheets and spray top of slices very lightly with cooking spray; sprinkle lightly with salt. Bake at your oven's lowest temperature (150-200 F is ideal) until completely crisp, about 2-3 hours. Let cool on baking sheet then store in a covered container at room temperature.