What to do? You’ve got a veritable zucchini factory growing in your garden or perhaps a CSA box with an over abundance of summer squash and you’re rather tired of the same old, same old. Savory Zucchini Pancakes made with lots of fresh and fragrant herbs will enliven your taste buds and renew your enjoyment of the summer garden’s bounty.
My husband and I purposefully haven’t grown summer squash for a few years. Instead we take pleasure in coming home from the farmers’ market each week with just the amount of squash we’ll actually use. Besides we wouldn’t have enough room to grow so many varieties, colors and shapes in our small plot. For us, growing zucchini is best left to others.
Our garden does have room for lots of fresh parsley, basil, green onions and thyme. They just happen to be the featured herbs in the Savory Zucchini Pancakes. These finely chopped herbs do much to punch up zucchini’s somewhat neutral flavor and increase the health profile of these vegetarian pancakes.
Yes, I’ve settled on calling this recipe pancakes. It’s been rather confusing settling on a name for these savory rounds. Though, after reading what Wikipedia says about potato pancakes, my confusion’s gone, my curiosity sated. Seems not all pancakes are made with eggs, flour and leavening. Thus, my Savory Zucchini Pancakes with grated vegetables, fresh herbs, breadcrumbs and eggs qualify as pancakes and do justice to the name.
Just the right size
A ¼ cup measuring cup makes for perfect-sized pancakes. Not too moist, not too thick, but just right—the perfect ratio of crisp exterior to moist, chunky and flavorful interior.
Lots of different toppings work well for these pancakes. Try sour cream, crème fraiche or yoghurt, perhaps first stirring in a spoonful of pesto. I sometimes like them with fresh salsa on top for both color and flavor contrast. The bit of heat in the salsa really perks up the taste.
Garnish Savory Zucchini Pancakes with a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt and even a spoonful of salsa or pesto. Use both yellow and green varieties of summer squash for more colorful pancakes.
Yield: 12 Cakes (3-4 servings)
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
5 cups coarsely grated zucchini
½ teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic
1 cup fresh parsley
¾ cup fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 cup bread crumbs from fresh bread
½ cup thinly sliced green onions (both white and green parts)
2 tablespoons capers, drained
½ teaspoon sea salt
Dozen twists freshly ground pepper
Olive oil for cooking
Sour cream, yoghurt, pesto, salsa
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F. Put a cookie sheet in the oven.
Place the grated zucchini in a colander and toss with ½ teaspoon of salt. Let it sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Turn on your food processor. Drop the garlic through the feed tube to finely chop it. Add the parsley, basil and thyme and process till finely chopped. Add the bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Use the pulse button to evenly mix them in with the herbs. Place the mixture in a medium-size bowl. Stir in the sliced scallions and drained capers.
Using your hands, squeeze as much moisture as you can from the zucchini. Stir the zucchini in with the herb mixture. (Note: My husband suggests saving and drinking the zucchini liquid as a refreshing beverage.) Taste for seasoning and adjust the salt and pepper accordingly. Just before you are ready to cook the cakes, beat together the eggs and stir them into the mixture.
Place a large skillet or griddle over medium high heat. Lightly coat the surface with olive oil. Drop ¼ cup portions of the zucchini mixture in the pan pressing each pancake lightly till about 3 inches across. Cook 3 minutes until golden. Carefully turn cakes over and cook the other side another 2 minutes.
Keep the cooked Savory Zucchini Pancakes warm on the cookie sheet in the preheated oven until you have finished cooking all the pancakes.
Serve topped with one or more of the optional garnishes.
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