Like many of you out there, we have been inundated with zucchini this summer. So, when I came across a blog post for Zucchini Pancakes at The Wednesday Chef it was immediately bookmarked. Zucchini and I have a love hate relationship. They are delicious, and I do have a few ways that I always put them to use (grilled, veggie lasagna, other pastas, etc.), but I always end up with far too many and hate seeing them go bad. I think a lot of people feel this way. They are so darn prolific!
Earlier this summer in July we attended all three days of the XPoNential Music Festival in Camden, NJ. This wonderful festival is a yearly event put on by our favorite radio station, XPN (public alternative excellence for those who are not familiar). It was a terrific festival and there were some amazing artists present - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Grace Potter, Dr. Dog - and MORE! One of the best parts of this event is that it is put on at a park, so for seating everyone brings picnic blankets and camp chairs. Naturally, we planned picnics to go with the music listening, and I busted out the zucchini pancake recipe. It seemed like a great picnic food. In the blog post the author took a NY Times recipe for Turkish Zucchini Pancakes and gave it her own twist. The original recipe included dill and feta, while the adaption was a sweeter cilantro based pancake. I decided that I was more inclined to the original recipe, so reverted to that.
The recipe calls for you to squeeze out all of the excess zucchini water. I squeezed, and squeezed, but I don't think I did a good enough job. It tells you to use a kitchen towel, but that didn't feel right.
Another problem I encountered was the batter was too thin. It got a little oozy and the first pancakes I made were just weird. I added a little more flour and that did wonders to achieve a better consistency. Maybe it was because I didn't squeeze enough water out.
This past weekend we had two potluck picnics to go to, and I decided to try this zucchini pancake thing again. This time I used cheesecloth instead of a kitchen towel for the zucchini squeezing and that was a huge improvement! I made a double batch and added even more flour. Man, were they good. They were gobbled up and I was a little sad I didn't make a triple batch so we could have leftovers!
The NY Times article also includes a recipe for a dip to go with the pancakes. I made it the first time, but then out of sheer laziness bought some Tzatziki at Whole Foods. It was just as tasty in my opinion.
What is your favorite way to use zucchini??? Let me know in the comments!
Turkish Zucchini Pancakes (adapted from this recipe)
yield - about 12-15 pancakes
3 medium zucchini, shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 4 oz and sheep's milk if you can find it)
3 scallions, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped dill
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 to 6 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil, more as needed
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place zucchini in a colander over a bowl, and mix with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Allow to drain for five minutes. Transfer to cheesecloth, and squeeze hard to extract as much moisture as possible. Squeeze a second time; volume will shrink to about half the original.
In a large mixing bowl, combine zucchini and eggs. Using a fork, mix well. Add flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, olive oil, feta, scallions, dill and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Mix well, add baking powder, and mix again.
Place a cast iron skillet or other heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and heat until shimmering (my pancakes turned out better with less oil). Place heaping tablespoons of zucchini batter in pan several inches apart, allowing room to spread. Flatten them with a spatula if necessary; pancakes should be about 3/8 inch thick and about 3 inches in diameter. Fry until golden on one side, then turn and fry again until golden on other side. Repeat once or twice, frying about 5 to 6 minutes total, so pancakes get quite crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, and keep warm in oven. Continue frying remaining batter, adding more oil to pan as needed. Serve hot.