If there’s one ingredient you can never have too many recipes for in the summer it has to be zucchini. I remember as a kid that my Dad used to grow these epic zucchini in our garden and we would not only eat zucchini for every meal, but beg people to take some off our hands.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a garden so I can’t actually grow gargantuan zucchini, but it’s still one of my favorite veggies and it’s very economical and fresh this time of year.
What’s cool about these zucchini pancakes is that they are pretty flexible. I served these for brunch, but you could just as easily have them as an appetizer. No matter when you eat them, zucchini pancakes are great!
This recipe is pretty flexible and you can throw in all kinds of extras based on what you have around. I just used a potato to give the pancakes a bit more of a hash brown kind of texture, but you could add in all kinds of other things: carrots, turnips, parsnips, beets, celery root, sweet potato, ginger and garlic (for a slightly more Asian flavor). That’s just for starters.
1) Grate veggies (zucchini, potato, onion).
2) Lay zucchini and potato on a few paper towels and lightly pressed some of the water out of them.
3) Mix everything together except the oil.
4) Heat up oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure oil is hot by dropping a lone shred of zucchini in. It should sizzle like crazy.
5) Form each pancake and carefully lay it in the oil using a spatula.
6) Cook approximately five minutes a side. They should be a deep golden brown color.
7) Move straight to a paper towel to pull off some of the excess oil.
8) Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on right away while they are very hot.
9) Serve with fresh fruit and a good dollop of Greek yogurt.
Prepping the veggies
Basically all of the veggies for this recipe have to be grated. This isn’t really as much work as you would think. I grated two zucchinis, a potato, and 1/2 an onion in about 2 minutes. You could dice the onion if that’s easier.
The one thing you will note is that both the zucchini and potatoes will release a ton of water. You want to pull out as much of this as possible before mixing your batter because a really watery batter isn’t great.
I laid out my zucchini and potato on a few paper towels and lightly pressed some of the water out of them. You don’t have to be crazy about it, but try to get off a fair amount of the surface liquid.
Once you’ve dried off your veggies a bit, you can mix everything together except the oil. There won’t be a lot of batter really. It’s mainly just to hold the pancakes together. The veggies are definitely the star of the show here.
If you pick up a ball of the batter it should kind of stick together.
Cooking the pancakes
I should note that Mr. Bittman recommends that you form these guys and then let them chill for an hour to firm up. I was simply too hungry to deal with that, so I just formed them and then dropped them straight into the hot oil. Seemed to work just fine.
I like my pancakes to be about 1/2 Cup of batter so I only got about 6 out of the recipe. You could go a bit smaller though if you wanted.
Heat up your oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Make sure your oil is hot by dropping a lone shred of zucchini in. It should sizzle like crazy. If your oil isn’t really hot you’ll end up with zucchini soggy-cakes. Nobody likes soggy-cakes so test your oil and make sure it’s hot.
Then form each pancake and carefully lay it in the oil. Use a spatula if you aren’t comfortable sticking your hands very, very close to extremely hot oil. Maybe use a spatula even if for some reason you are comfortable with that idea.
Cooking time may vary on these guys but will probably be around five minutes a side. They should be a deep golden brown color. When they are cooked, move them straight to a paper towel to pull off some of the excess oil.
As with anything savory I fry, I sprinkled a pinch of salt and pepper on right away while they are very hot.
I serve these for breakfast with some fresh fruit and a good dollop of Greek yogurt. Traditionally, I think sour cream is the choice topping, but I’m on a serious Greek yogurt kick these days.
So, if you have a few pounds of extra zucchini laying around, this is a good way to work them into your breakfast. I thought about taking this whole dish one step further and topping the pancakes with a poached egg and making kind of a zucchini benedict dish, but I was out of eggs! I bet it would’ve been good though.
Anyway, the point is that this is a really flexible recipe that allows for all kinds of fun summer and fall veggies.
Leave a comment if you have other ideas for these guys.