Trail of breadcrumbs

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This weekend has certainly been a fun one; good sushi, good company and a great martini on Friday naturally led to a Saturday craving for a flavorful and delicious meal.  In an attempt to maintain some semblance of self-respect, though, I opted for a baked meal rather than it’s dirty and delicious fried doppelgänger.  I picked up a half pound of squid rings and a fresh zucchini at Treasure Island and got down to battering business.  I don’t often bread food prior to cooking, so I looked up a few recipes to find a consensus on the best method.  Using tempura flakes for the squid and plain old bread crumbs for the zucchini, I varied the seasonings for each per the recipes below.  The outcome was delish; crispy on the outside and tender on the inside – I’ll definitely be making these dishes again!

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Baked Calamari:

  1. If not already, make sure to clean the calamari.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Sparsely oil a baking pan to avoid sticking
  4. Lightly beat the eggs.
  5. Mix the Old Bay into the panko to taste.
  6. Set up an assembly line to coat the squid rings with flour, then egg, then panko.
  7. Dredge the rings in flour, lightly dusting off any excess or clumps.
  8. Coat the floured rings in the egg mixture.
  9. Drop the rings into the panko, making sure all sides are covered completely.
  10. Gently set the battered rings onto the greased pan.
  11. Work quickly to coat all squid pieces.
  12. Bake at 400 for roughly 10 minutes, gently turning the pieces around minute 7.
  13. Good luck! Remember that overcooked squid can be chewy and tough, but undercooking wont allow the breading to crisp.  It’s a balancing act but worth every wobble!
  14. Garnish with lemon and marinara (we all know calamari is amazing with tartar sauce but I’m trying to set a good influence here!)

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Baked Zucchini Fries:

  1. Scrub the zucchini until squeaky clean.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Sparsely oil a baking pan to avoid sticking.
  4. Lightly beat the eggs.
  5. Mix the seasoning mix into the breadcrumbs to taste.
  6. Slice the zucchini.  I went for the french fry shape but I can also personally vouch for the coin variety.
  7. Set up an assembly line to coat zucchini with flour, then egg, then panko.
  8. Dredge the zucchini slices in flour, lightly dusting off any excess or clumps.
  9. Coat the floured slices in the egg mixture.
  10. Drop the zucchini into the panko, making sure all sides are covered completely.
  11. Gently set the battered zucchini onto the greased pan.
  12. Bake at 350 for roughly 30 minutes, flipping 2-3 times.
  13. Garnish with marinara and enjoy!

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