When summer squash season arrives, I always feel like I’m eating my weight in it. Probably because I am. Pounds and pounds of the buttery yellow squash and zucchini fill my kitchen, waiting to be cooked or given away before my counters turn into a compost pit. I hate to see food go to waste, so every meal that I steam up some veggies (meaning at least once a day), there’s sure to be some sliced squash thrown in the steamer basket too. A little olive oil, S&P is all you need to make those slices taste like butter. Mhmm.
The naturally buttery, not-so-overbearing flavor of squash makes the ingredient a well-suited base for a variety of other dishes too. A childhood favorite of mine is zucchini pancakes. Growing up, my third grandma, AKA my longtime babysitter, would always make zucchini pancakes from her garden-grown zucchini. A little hesitant at first on how to feed two vegetarian kids, my brother and I certainly ate our share of this zucchini creation. But I never seemed to get tired of the weekly meal. Especially when a little ketchup was involved.
I hadn’t had zucchini pancakes quite possibly since the last time my babysitter, Betty, made them for me. Inspired by the masses of zucchini growing in my garden, I decided to recreate Betty’s zucchini pancakes, adding just a few extra flavors to what I remembered of her pancakes. It’s a pretty simple recipe and one that reminds me of wanting to eat these on a weekly basis again. Although this time around, I’ll be swapping the ketchup for some salsa.
(Serves 2, yielding about 6 pancakes total)
-2 cups grated zucchini (one medium-large zucchini)
-1 scant Tbsp. chopped parsley
-2 Tbsp. grated red onion
-1 egg, whisked
-1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs*
-1/4 tsp. salt
-Pepper, to taste
Preheat oven 200F.
Grate zucchini through largest hole on the grater. Place in colander and squeeze as much water as possible out of the zucchini. Transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Add onion, parsley, whisked egg, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
Heat non-stick skillet over medium-high. Add Tbsp. butter/olive and heat just before smoking point. Drop spoonful of pancake mix onto pan to form pancakes. Flatten with spatula until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, or until brown and crispy.
Keep pancakes warm in oven until all batter is cooked.
Serve with a side of salsa and dollop of yogurt/sour cream, if desired.
*Regular breadcrumbs would probably work just as well, considering their primary purpose isn’t to crisp up the cakes. I just happen to have a ton of panko around, so that’s what I’ve been experimenting with.