I’m not going to lie and say I love all food. In fact, there are a few I can do without… any sort of leaf lettuce, not crispy lettuce or arugula- but true “leaf” lettuce, the fuzzy skin of a peach -and drum roll please…zucchini. I will pick out the zucchini from my Ichiban hibachi veggies and pass on them if grilled.
I think it’s the sliminess that irks me. I'm sure there are a few others...nah, I think that's it!
Yes, I know the vining herbaceous plant whose fruit is harvested when their immature seeds and epicarp (rind) are still soft and edible are good for me. Yes, I know their deep green color and off-white flesh provide me with a great source of Vitamins C and A as well as potassium. Yea, yea, yea... but I still hate them sauteed or roasted.
That’s not to say I will never eat them…as a blossom, I will stuff with herbed goat cheese and as ribbons, battered and fried with horseradish mayo or marinara sauce I will devour them.
But my favorite way is zucchini pancakes. Fritters are different as it is more of a batter used to coat the zucchini. In pancakes, all ingredients are incorporated together.
It is so nice to plant the garden and even nicer to pick the last of the harvest. Right now, we are somewhere in between. It's manageable right now, the zucchini harvest. But blink, and it seems like Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate shop... too many, too fast. It starts to become overwhelming.
And bigger isn't always better, which is why I try to harvest zucchini when around 6-8 inches. As zucchini becomes bigger it becomes more and more bitter. The seeds are inedible, and the rind is hard. Stick with the smaller veggies.
Don't worry about what you will do with all of that zucchini that are starting to overtake your garden as the summer harvest and plethora of zucchini can be used in several recipes-- bread, appetizers, side dishes, as noodle and frittered (or pancaked).
I'm going to share my favorite, Zucchini Pancakes since I just made them with my mom.
Let's get to cooking!!
Cooking with Carol
The most flavorful zucchinis are the small to medium sized -6 to 8 inches max vegetable. The longer and thicker they get, the more bitter they become.
You can use a box grater, or a food processor fitted with the grating disc. I found each way yields a nice, grated flesh-- but the food processer literally takes 1/2 the time.
Soggy fritters are a real thing and could ruin your entire cook as the soggy fritter does not come together easily. The key to removing the soggy is to remove the excess liquid from the zucchini once it's grated. Cheese cloth or flour sacks work the best to wring out the excess water. It's not necessary to salt the grated zucchini. If you do, make sure you adjust the salt in the recipe.
I've tried both liquid oil for frying and a solid "shortening" like Crisco. I prefer the solid over the liquid. For some reason I get better results, yielding crispier and less oily pancakes.
Be certain to season after the pancakes come out of the oil. It's important to season while the fritter is still hot, as the seasoning will adhere to the texture better.
5-6 small- medium sized fresh zucchini
1-2 small white onions, grated or finely diced
1 to 1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp each, salt and pepper
solid shortening for frying
salt and pepper for garnish
What to Do
In a food processor or with a box grater, grate the zucchini and onion. Cut off stem side before grating.
In a cheese cloth, flour sack towel or kitchen towel (with not much lint), place zucchini and onion. Bring sides of towel together and wring out all of the excess water. It will be alot, so keep wringing until very dry.
Combine all dry ingredients together. Add flour and vegetables and toss to combine. Add eggs and finish mixing until all ingredients are incorporated. Allow to rest 15 minutes.
In a heavy bottom cast iron skillet add shortening, heat pan with 1/4" to 1/2" preferred frying oil on medium or medium-high heat. Test if oil is hot by gently lowering a very small spoonful of batter into the oil. Once the edges start to boil with small but consistent bubbles the oil is hot.
Note: A wooden spoon can be used to test oil as well. Place handle in oil. If bubbles start to form around the wood, the oil is ready. Place a spoonful of the mixture in the oil
Scoop 1/4 cup of mixture into oil. Gently place into oil and press down to flatten. Cook on one side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip the pancakes to finish frying.
Place on paper towels to soak up excess oil and season as desired.
Serve warm with condiments including sour cream, spicy mayo or marinara sauce.
Enjoy! And Happy Summer!!
A note from contributing writer,
I like adding chopped scallions, a splash of lime juice, and chopped fresh cilantro…just a different flavor profile.