Zucchini may just be the tofu of the veggie world.
And if you join a CSA your zucchini cup will surely runneth over. Put it on the grill, make some muffins and, in this case, make some tender little pancakes. Try something new, because you'll have a big batch every week with which to experiment. I ended up making zucchini pancakes...twice.
Since we've also been entertaining frequently to share the lovely cool nights on our terrace, it seemed like a zucchini-focused nibble was inevitable. I had been eyeing zucchini pancakes for a while: a finger food that is filling, mostly nutritious, and can be made slightly ahead of time and kept warm in the oven. And it turns out they were a hit.
Ina's Barefoot Contessa Zucchini Pancakes seemed to best match my goal to use as much zucchini and as little flour as possible. Plus I trust her recipes implicitly. Since these were for company, I wanted to dress them up a little, so the lemon zest and thyme are my own addition since both flavors go so well with zucchini. This dish is adapted from Ina Garten's recipe:
Zucchini Pancakes with Lemon and Thyme
2 medium zucchinis, grated
1/2 spring onion or 1 medium onion, grated
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
10 sprigs fresh thyme
Zest of one lemon
Grate the zucchini and the onion and squeeze out extra moisture in a towel (I used a paper towel and it worked just fine.) Place in a large bowl and mix in flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and fresh thyme leaves pulled from the stem. Lightly beat two eggs and mix into zucchini mixture.
Heat enough vegetable oil to cover a large saute pan over medium high heat. You'll know it is hot enough when a little batter drop sizzles. Drop in small spoonfuls (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons) of batter and cook on both side until golden brown and the pancakes hold together. Keep warm in an oven up to 30 minutes.
This makes a two-bite sized pancake that can be topped with sour cream or mascarpone, too.
And then...I thought maybe there was a way to make these even healthier...
A zucchini favorite is Couscous Royale. I make this Moroccan dish with zucchini, carrots and butternut squash, cooking it in chicken broth with a touch of spice and a lot of ground pepper.
I had carrots and, of course, zucchini, so that was the inspiration for these Zucchini Pancakes.
Moroccan Zucchini and Carrot Pancakes
1 medium zucchini, shredded
3 small carrots, shredded
1 spring onion, shredded
4-5 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and ground pepper
Shred vegetables and drain slightly on paper towel. Add in egg, flour, baking powder, cumin and salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium high heat. Drop in 2 Tablespoons of batter for each pancake, about 4 will fit in the pan. Brown on both sides, about 3 minutes each side and make sure the oil doesn't get too hot (just turn it back if it starts to smoke.)
These were moist, a little sweet and with a nice subtle spiciness. A great accompaniment for:
Moroccan Chicken Rub: Rub chicken paillard (thin cut) with 1 t. cumin + 1 t. cinnamon + 1/4 t. ground coriander + 1/4 t. ground cloves + salt/pepper. Grill.
Zucchini introduces veggie goodness to the cocktail hour
Inexpensive ingredients become something a little fancier
Using up the CSA supply makes us healthier and ready for more