Gourmandistan

Zucchini pancakes for (and from) victory

Zucchini pancakesWe 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.

Victory Garden cookbook

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.

Zucchini pancakes

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!

ZUCCHINI PANCAKES

  • Servings: 3 or 4 as a main dish, more as an appetizer
  • Print

(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.

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45 comments

  1. Michelle what a terrific cookbook. I have a few antique/vintage cooking books and find them interesting to read. What people cooked at various times in our history tells us lots about the times and the eaters. I have never had zucchini pancakes but will print this one to try this summer.

  2. Fabulous Michelle! I use a similar recipe to get the grand kids to eat greens to use as fancy canape bases to enjoy for breakfast with bacon and for lunch with salad. Good recipes endure!

  3. Lovely!

    I think that here in New Zealand, you’d probably call it a zucchini fritter and make them bite sized and pass a plate with dipping sauce around your friends while you enjoy a refreshing beverage.

    • How interesting! I used to think I hated zucchini. I don’t know why, as it’s so inoffensive. But in high summer, especially if small, I think it’s quite delicious. When stuck with some big ones, I always make this bread, which sounds strange but is incredibly good.

    • You’re a man after my own heart, Nick. I hate large chunks of courgettes, too. 🙂 Actually, I think large chunks may be why so many people think they don’t like them.

    • You’re a wise man. For some reason, nobody sells blossoms at our farmers’ markets. They say that nobody buys them. But I would, in bulk!! We do have some enormous pumpkin vines growing out of our compost pile. I’m tempted to go get some of their flowers, as I can’t believe this whole summer is going to pass without eating squash blossoms. But they’re so gigantic that they’re sort of scary.

    • I will have to try that! I had some with browned butter and tons of chopped herbs last night and thought it was just about the best thing I’ve had all year. It’s so subtle. But what taste it has just = summer, doesn’t it?

  4. thank you for this! I recently posted on my rather tepid take on zucchini “boats’ but I have forgotten how much I really do love zucchini pancakes…will definitely be trying this out soon! Kate

    • So welcome! When I’m eating nothing but local turnips and Whole Foods broccoli all winter, I’ll definitely be missing the zucchini that we all complain so much about now. 😉

  5. Just in time! My parents brought me a boatload of zucchini from their garden (the only things I grow are tomatoes and sunchokes) and I was running out of culinary ambition. I’ve made enough sautéed squash, squash succotash and zucchini bread to last me until next summer. I’m going to make these ASAP — with the fried corn, of course, because the whole combination sounds fantastic. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Pingback: Zucchini pancakes with fried corn & sungolds, for when summer continues to linger… | Attempts in Domesticity

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