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Zucchini Pancakes – a summer garden recipe

Zucchini pancakes or fritters

Besides the tomato, is there any vegetable that announces the height of the summer garden more than the zucchini? At a certain point each summer, I start to see it everywhere…at the local Farmer’s Market, in my CSA box, in bags of garden produce from neighbors left on my front porch. It’s like people can’t get rid of their summer squash fast enough. Since I don’t grow it in my own garden, I’m always too happy to take bags of squash from anyone who wants to give it to me. So when yellow squash and zucchini are this plentiful, I have a handful of recipes that I make to attack that pile of vegetables in my kitchen. One of my family’s favorites is zucchini pancakes for dinner. 

Zucchini, summer squash
Zucchini, an abundant and delicious summer squash

Zucchini pancakes are a vegetable fritter made with grated squash, flour, egg, parmesan cheese and egg. I usually add fresh chopped basil or oregano from my kitchen garden, but you can add almost any herb that you have handy – thyme, sage, parsley, etc. I’ve also gone back and forth between using yellow summer squash and zucchini and either squash works great. 

Ingredients for Zucchini fritters
Ingredients for Zucchini Pancakes – fresh basil, zucchini, garlic and onion.

When I make zucchini pancakes, it is our main dish and I serve it with sides of sliced fresh tomatoes and maybe some potato salad on the side. It’s a classic light, summer vegetarian dinner.

Zucchini Pancakes

1 1/2 pounds of zucchini (or any summer squash)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
olive oil

Grated the zucchini for the pancakes
Zucchini, grated and salted

Zucchinis contain a lot of water, so the first thing you will need to do is grate your zucchini and drain it of its excess juice. To do this, grate the zucchini into a colander and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of kosher salt. The salt will pull out the extra moisture from the squash. Put the colander in the sink and let the juice drain out for about 15-20 minutes. Then, by the handful, squeeze the remaining liquid out of the zucchini. 

Squeezing the excess moisture out of the zucchini
Squeezing the excess moisture out of the zucchini

Strip the basil leaves off of their stem and chop them fine. You will need about 1/2 cup of chopped basil. In a large bowl, beat your two eggs, then add the flour, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper and the chopped basil. Mix. Add the drained zucchini, garlic and chopped onion. Mix thoroughly.

Zucchini Pancakes in the pan
Zucchini Pancakes in the pan

Heat a large, non-stick skillet over a medium-high heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, scoop it up and flatten them patties from your zucchini mix and add to the hot pan. They should be about 3 inches in diameter. Cook until they are brown on each side – about 5 to 7 minutes. To make all the zucchini pancakes, you’ll need to fry in two batches. When they are browned, remove from the pan onto paper towels to drain. Serve hot with salsa fresca or aioli. Enjoy!

Zucchini Pancakes
Zucchini Pancakes


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