Breaded Baked Vegetables and Buta-Aspara

Yesterday I went to a family restaurant to play scrabble with a friend and take advantage of the air conditioning.  We ordered a couple of snacks – french fries and zucchini fries.  Both were excellent and I was inspired to make zucchini for dinner.  I don’t deep fry.  I just can’t stand looking at all of that oil.  I know that when done properly deep fried food absorbs very little oil but still…  I decided to go for breaded and baked in the toaster oven.

Breaded Baked Zucchini and Eggplant

zucchini and eggplant cut into steak fry size – enough to cover your pan
1-2 eggs, beaten – depending on how much veg you have
panko (bread crumbs) – amount depends on how much veg
spices to add to the
panko – I used 山椒の粉 (sanshou no ko)
spray oil

Prepare your baking/toasting surface by spraying it lightly with oil.  Put the eggs in a bowl and coat the vegetables.  Put the panko and spices in a plastic bag, add some of the vegetables and shake.  Place the vegetables on the baking/toasting surface and repeat until all the vegetables are ready to go.  Spray the vegetables lightly with oil.  Toast for 30minutes.  The zucchini will be just cooked and the eggplant will be nice and soft.  Serve as is or drizzle with Italian dressing.

I ate the leftovers reheated and drizzled with Italian dressing for lunch today – was great.

I also made a yakitori shop and izakaya favorite of mine – buta-aspara – asparagus wrapped in pork.  I tried this in the toaster oven as well.  I also decided to go heavier on the asparagus and lighter on the pork.  Usually you have one piece of pork wrapped several times around a piece of asparagus.  Normally you also cut the asparagus into bite-sized pieces but I left them long for no particular reason.

Toaster Oven Buta-Aspara

1-2 bunches asparagus, washed
1-2 really thin pork slice for every 3-4 pieces of asparagus (depends on size of asparagus pieces and meat)
seasoning of your choice (I used salt flavored meat sauce)
1 tablespoon cooking
sake

Before you prepare the asparagus, drizzle the cooking sake over the meat and let it sit in the fridge until you have finished preparing the asparagus.  Cut the tough ends of the asparagus off and cut into desired length.  Bite-size on a skewer is nice.  Line a baking pan with parchment paper (in Japan: oven paper).  Roll the asparagus in pork and place on the baking pan.  Drizzle with seasoning.  I cooked them in the toaster oven for 20 minutes and they were cooked to perfection.