I’m a firm believer that my weekend just isn’t complete without a visit to one of the many farmers markets here in Little Rock.  Often times, coming across all these fresh, locally-grown ingredients is all the inspiration I need to create a satisfying dish once I get home.

A recent visit to the Hillcrest Farmers Market (Saturdays from 7 a.m.-noon) yielded me a small basket of zucchini from Scott Melons & Produce and a jar of Bonta Toscana. The latter is a deliciously authentic garlic sauce made right here in Little Rock by Amy Bradley-Hole. It’s a product I’m not only familiar with, as I’ve cooked with it no less than 20 times this past year, but also one I know pairs well with zucchini.

I found this this wonderful Zucchini Parmesan Crisps recipe and opted to utilize the Bonta Toscana as a dipping sauce for the finished pieces of baked zucchini.

The recipe proved to be super easy, fairly healthy and most importantly, it tasted absolutely fantastic! The finished zucchini had a crispy crust, while still maintaining a soft interior. This was due in large part to the bread crumbs/Parmesan mixture coupled with the high heat baking process (450 degrees for 30 minutes). The garlic sauce, with its mild spiciness and intense garlic flavor, proved to be the perfect complement to the zucchini.

With school starting back up, know that these zucchini crisps make for an excellent snack when the kids get home. They’re also great side item dish, and with a little creativity in the presentation department, will surely impress as an appetizer for future dinner parties.

Don’t care for zucchini? Feel free to substitute fresh eggplant into this recipe (which I did the next day), and you’ll be more than happy with the results.