We are not going to waste time weeping about zucchini, as the clichéd stance of despairing what to do with it is quite possibly as old as the vegetable itself. Instead, we will offer a simple, no-nonsense solution: zucchini pancakes. We’ve made this recipe pretty much every summer since the 1980s, when this cookbook based on recipes from the PBS show The Victory Garden came out.
The TV series, created by Russell Morash, was a pioneer in both food and garden television, predating the Food Network and HGTV by decades. The bulk of the show was devoted to exploring how uncomplicated and satisfying a home garden can be (something Gourmandistan is contemplating reviving after being lulled to inaction in recent years by a good CSA and many excellent nearby farmers’ markets). But a segment was reserved for Morash’s wife, Marian, who would demonstrate what to do with one’s (at present here, still imaginary) bounty of home-grown vegetables. The concept is still a winner for PBS today, as the network continues to mine Morash’s creation for ratings.
Gourmandistan’s copy of The Victory Garden Cookbook is battered and worn, its cover remaining attached by just a few cloth strands and careful handling. We’ve altered the recipe time and again, switching cheeses, herbs and ingredients to make Greek (fresh oregano and feta), Italian (basil and Parmesan) or Mexican-style (Cotija cheese, cilantro) pancakes. Whichever way you choose, it’s a great way to get rid of zucchini. Plus, the pancakes go well with fried corn—which also happens to be in season. Victory!
(adapted from Marian Morash’s The Victory Garden Cookbook)
- 2 c. grated zucchini
- 1/4 c. flour
- 1 TB melted butter
- Salt & pepper
- 1 or 2 TB grated cheese
- 2 TB grated onion
- 1 or 2 TB chopped herbs
- 2 or 3 eggs, beaten with a fork
- Oil for frying (we usually use a mixture of olive oil and a neutral oil)
Combine zucchini, flour, butter, salt, pepper, cheese, onion and herbs in a large bowl and toss together. Add eggs and stir to mix.
Heat a generous bit of oil in a large skillet. Pour batter into oil, flattening with a spatula. For entrée (that is, American main dish) sized portions, we usually use a 1/4- or 1/3-cup measure per pancake, but you can make much smaller ones.
Cook until brown and crisp on both sides, turning as necessary. Drain on a rack or on paper towels.