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Zucchini Goat Cheese Bites

Zucchini_Goat_Cheese_bites

I invented these little slices of heaven two weeks ago, and they have received rave reviews. Zucchini Goat Cheese Bites are slices of zucchini topped with herbed roasted red pepper goat cheese and panko, that are lightly fried in olive oil. They are a great appetizer, and a fun way to sneak zucchini into a meal. The combination of crispy panko and creamy goat cheese in this dish is really nice.

This is a very easy recipe to prepare. I add the herbs and roasted red pepper to the goat cheese myself, but if you want to make things even easier you can buy herbed goat cheese. Preparing the roasted red pepper is the most difficult and time consuming part of the preparation. If you decide to skip making the herbed red pepper goat cheese you can skip right to step 4.

If you want to serve this as a side dish, instead of an appetizer you can slice the zucchini length-wise into long pieces, and prepare according to the directions.

Yield: about 24 bites – appetizer portion for 8

You will need:
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Oregano
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh Basil
8 ounces of Goat Cheese (at room temperature)
2 Zucchini
2 Eggs
1/2 a cup of Seasoned Panko*
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

*I found this in the Italian section of the grocery store next to breadcrumbs

Step 1:
There are two ways to roast peppers.
If you have a gas stove:
Turn a burner on. Use tongs to place the pepper directly over the flame. Rotate every couple of minutes until all the skin of the pepper is burnt. Immediately place the peppers into a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. (The steam that forms helps separate the skin from the pepper). Once the peppers have reached room temperature peel the skin off the peppers – I think it is easiest to do this under cold water.

If you don’t have a gas stove:
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Slice the bell pepper into 4 or 5 large pieces. Spread the peppers out on a baking sheet, skin facing up. Roast for 15 minutes – the skin of the peppers should be toasted. Immediately place the peppers into a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. (The steam that forms helps separate the skin from the pepper). Once the peppers have reached room temperature peel the skin off the peppers – I think it is easiest to do this under cold water.

Step 2:
Finely dice the roasted red pepper. You need 1/4 cup total. You will likely have some leftover roasted pepper – which is great in sandwiches.

Step 3:
Stir the goat cheese, oregano, basil and roasted red pepper together.

Step 4:
Slice the zucchini into about 1/3 inch slices. You need the slices to be thick enough to the slices to be sturdy enough to hold up to the toppings.

Step 5:
Whisk the eggs together in a bowl. Pour the panko into another bowl.

Step 6:
Use a spoon or a knife to spread an even layer of the herbed goat cheese on the zucchini slices. I put about 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese on each slice.

Step 7:
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Pour just enough olive oil in the pan to coat the pan.

Step 8:
Dip each zucchini slice, goat cheese side down, in the panko. Then dip it in the egg – don’t dunk it in the egg, you just want the panko to absorb some of the egg. Then dip it back in the panko.

Step 9:
Place the panko coated zucchini in the skillet panko side down. Toast until the panko is golden brown, this takes 2-3 minutes. Then flip over and brown the zucchini, this takes another 2 minutes. Continue until all of the zucchini bites are toasted, add more olive oil to the pan as necessary.

thekittchen