What an amazing start to spring we have had. Just this past week we had all four seasons in one day: rain, hail, snow and sunshine. I am in the midst of getting my garden planted and we managed to get in cold weather crops and have lettuce and peas poking up through the garden mulch Meanwhile, I am still trying to work my way through the abundance of berries and beans that I still have in the freezer from last year’s bounty. I love smoothies, berries and yogurt, berries on my hot cereal as well as beans in soups, pastas and stir fry. I am sure that most of the frozen goodies will be gone by the time this year’s crops ripen.
The two items in the freezer that will require creative cookery to use up are pumpkin (soups, pies, bread) and shredded zucchini (stir fry, zoodles, bread). I don’t grow my own pumpkin or zucchini because I have a small vegetable garden and come September and October my gardening friends are begging me to take the squash off of their hands. I am one of those people who delight in receiving a bag of zucchini left at my front door in the middle of the night!
So as a lover of pancakes and waffles, I have been experimenting with savory fritter recipes in order to use up the packages of frozen shredded zucchini lurking in my freezer. There are many variations but I have discovered one that is easy, delicious and fast. It is a recipe that you can change up with different flavor profiles as well and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I reheat them in my toaster oven, although you could microwave them if you want. I prefer the toaster because I like how they get crispy. Add a side of eggs and you have a complete meal.
Savory Zucchini Pancakes
2 medium zucchini, grated or shredded (no need to drain!)
1/4 medium onion, grated
2 Eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup of flour
Combine all of the above ingredients in a bowl and mix gently. The consistency should be like breakfast pancakes, pourable but a little on the thick side.
Optional: Add spices and herbs such as chili flakes, curry powder, granulated garlic, chives, parsley, etc. You can create any flavor profile that you want.
Heat equal parts oil and butter in a skillet or griddle over medium heat. Use about 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake. Cook for about two minutes on each side. You can keep them warm in the oven until mealtime.
I like to sprinkle them with parmesan cheese or goat cheese. I also love to eat them with Tzatziki (greek yogurt sauce) or a simple yogurt sauce of yogurt, dill and dry mustard.
By the way, don’t tell your kids that these pancakes are healthy. Zucchini is low calorie (with only 17 calories per 100 grams) and high in fiber, and has no cholesterol or unhealthy fats. In fact, a zucchini has more potassium than a banana. It is also a good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus and copper, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium and manganese.
This is another recipe where you can use your imagination to create the flavors that you are craving as well as a healthy and quick meal. Here’s to using up what you have in your fridge or freezer!
— By Deborah Binder
Deborah Binder is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at [email protected].