Zucchini and eggplant both share a similar composition and water content that can make them turn out a little mushy when they are sautéed. Some people get around this by breading slices of zucchini with egg wash and cracker meal.
The reality is you can sauté slices of zucchini in a pan or grill them over direct heat, so long as you take steps to remove the excess water from them.
A 7 to 8 inch long zucchini
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of fresh cracked black pepper
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 shallot, chopped
¼ teaspoon of smoked paprika
½ teaspoon of fresh chopped parsley
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
How to make the best Pan Fried Zucchini recipe:
Step 1: Prepare the zucchini 20 minutes before you plan to cook. While some people like to peel them I leave the peels on since they bring additional fiber and beta-carotene to the table.
Use a mandolin or a chef’s knife to cut the zucchini into 3/8th inch pieces. Cutting them on the bias is a nice visual touch!
Step 2: Lay out two layers of paper towel on a cooling rack. Sprinkle the paper towel with a little salt. Then lay the zucchini slices down on it. Try to leave a quarter inch gap between each slice. Sprinkle more salt on top of each zucchini then cover with another double layer of paper towel.
Step 3: After 10 minutes, press the slices to extract some of the excess water that has been drawn to the surface by the salt. Then replace the top layer of paper towel.
Step 4: Squeeze the top layer of paper towel after 5 to 7 minutes.
Step 5: Place 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a 12-inch non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer add the zucchini slices and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 6: Flip the zucchini slices and add the shallots and minced garlic to the pan. Continue to sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes or until you see the garlic turn golden brown and the zucchini slices take on a little color.
Step 7: Sprinkle on the parsley, black pepper and smoked paprika. Toss the pan a few times to evenly coat.
Step 8: Replace the paper towel on the cooling rack. Remove the zucchini slices from the pan to the cooling rack. You can tent them with heavy duty tin foil to help retain the heat if you need a few extra minutes while plating other elements.
This is a nice paring for any Italian dish. It also plays very well with chicken and pork. It really is more of a side dish than an appetizer.