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Zucchini pancakes

By Ann | July 8, 2014

courgette pancakes

As I type this, a storm is turning the sky ash grey and wild, with bursts of thunder echoing across the canyons of midtown Manhattan, and flashes of lightening flickering along the East River like a dying fluorescent bulb. Rain is beading on the windows, sheeting across the tiled floor of the neighbor’s roof deck. My husband is at a work event; the baby is asleep in her crib. An hour ago, a mosquito landed on the tender flesh of her upper arm and then flitted away before I could decide whether or not to try to kill it. Black rage filled my heart.

It is summer, folks—summer in the big city—and our early June vacation means we’re here for the steamy duration. It’s the season I dislike the most for its cloying humidity; it’s the season I love with all my heart for its produce. The other day I bought a bunch of kale the size of a small sheep for two dollars. There are melons as sweet as candy, local blueberries in the grocery store, and ears of corn still to anticipate. And then there are the courgettes.

I ate almost everything as a kid, but courgettes (zucchini, squash—call them what you will) were my bête noir. They tasted like earwax to me (not that I have firsthand knowledge of the flavor of earwax), much like cooked carrots taste soapy, and grape jam carries a whiff of the dental office. Even as an adult, I like courgettes only in dishes where I can’t really taste them—soupe au pistou, for example, or this grilled recipe that chars the hell out of ’em, or zucchini bread with chocolate chips, which is an idea I can really get behind.

This recipe for courgette pancakes comes from The Barefoot Contessa At Home (which I think is my favorite of her books) and it definitely falls into the category of “hidden vegetables.” If you’re experiencing a zucchini glut (though I think that comes later in the season, right?) it’s a great way to use up a stray pound or two. I’ve tried a few zucchini pancake recipes, and this one is the best—there’s no tedious squeezing of excess liquid, just grate and go. The pancakes turn out tender, light, and fluffy, with no weird gumminess in the center.

The other great news about this recipe is that kids like it, too—if my anecdotal evidence of one 10-month-old (!) baby girl bears any weight. When I gave her these savory pancakes, she ate a short stack—the first food I’ve cooked for her that she really, truly loved.

courgette pancakes IG

Courgette/zucchini pancakes
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

3/4 lb zucchini (aka courgette, about 2 medium)
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6-8 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional, depending on how salty you like your food)
Freshly ground pepper
Olive oil for frying

Grate the courgette into a mixing bowl using the large holes of a box grater. Gently stir in the onion and eggs—I find that the more I work the mixture, the more unwanted liquid is released from the courgettes, so be delicate. Stir in 6 tablespoons of flour, the baking powder, salt (if using), pepper, and cheese. If, at any point, the batter becomes too thin from the liquid released by the courgettes, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time.

Heat a 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium heat and warm 1/2 tablespoon oil. When the oil is hot, lower the heat to medium, and drop spoonfuls of batter into the skillet. Cook the pancakes until golden brown—about 2-3 minutes on each side. Repeat with the remaining batter.

midtown after the storm

And, just for fun, here’s midtown Manhattan after the storm :)

Topics: A year in a French market: Summer, New York City, Recettes | 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “Zucchini pancakes”

  1. Padaek Says:
    July 8th, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Ann,

    I recently discovered your blog, and especially after reading this post, I think I’m going to enjoy following it. Your writing is wonderful. Love zucchinis so I’m pretty sure I’ll love these pancakes too. They look great, and top shot with the after the storm photo. :)

  2. Heather in Arles Says:
    July 8th, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Geez Louise, that looks like Armageddon! :o Good thing there is this happy-go-lucky recipe to try out. We lurv courgettes in our house so I will definitely give this a go…probably with some kind of yogurt dipping sauce because…why not?

    Will you please plant a bisous on that beautiful girl of yours from me? Merci!

  3. Lindy Says:
    July 8th, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Oh Ann I wish I could kidnap you all and bring you out here to the farm. Cities are no place in summer. And my courgette season is just beginning. I have picked my first two and will definitely try this recipe. My way of dealing with the glut is to do like the Italians: use a vegetable peeler and cut long thin strips. Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan and cook one clove of crushed garlic. Add in all the courgette strips, a pinch of garlic and cook on high for just a minute. Add a handful of marjoram leaves and serve. Squeeze of lemon if you remember. My favourite lunch.

  4. Lindy Says:
    July 8th, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Sorry a pinch of chillies.

  5. Bob Says:
    July 8th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    I love courgettes, and your pancakes look so appetizing. We’re having it as soon as I get some fresh courgettes at our little market. No wonder Lucy loved them!

  6. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) Says:
    July 8th, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    The skies of Paris look like that right now too! And hey, these zucchini pancakes look like something I used to eat when I lived in Paris (albeit pre-made but still…). Love this idea bookmarking!

  7. Emma Says:
    July 8th, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Oh lovely, they’re almost like a fritter aren’t they? A dollop of sour cream and some spring onions on them and I’d demolish these in a flash.

    Your girl has good taste!

  8. Betty Gleason Says:
    July 8th, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    We have a parting of the ways here now Ann. I LOVE everything zucchini! These pancakes will definitely be on my menu.

    My favorite lunch is sliced zucchini rounds (may add some plum tomato rounds) saute in a very little oil & butter, sprinkle with garlic, thyme & shredded cheddar cheese.

  9. Christine Griffith Says:
    July 8th, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I love courgette fritters/pancakes and they are delicious with sour cream and a sweet chilli salsa on the side or a good home made relish…..just seems to lift the flavour to another level. Another favourite is courgettes au gratin which I learnt to make at Meg Bortin’s classes in Paris.Your blog arrived on a stormy day in Cambridge (NZ). Winter had been so mild until two weeks ago when we were gripped by an icy blast straight from Antarctica. My daffodil bulbs had been lulled into thinking that spring was here with a long spell of balmy temperatures….18 degrees centigrade.. several of them are already sporting their yellow bonnets and wondering why it is so cold all of a sudden! Your blog certainly improves my mood on these dreary winter days, Ann, so keep up the great work and I will defintiely try this recipe when the courgettes start arriving back in the stores.The imported ones are a little expensive at the moment.

  10. Ann Says:
    July 9th, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Padaek — Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. I look forward to discovering your blog, too!

    Heather — Done — kisses planted! :) And, yes, a yogurt dipping sauce… wonderful idea. Mmmmmm.

    Lindy — I’d willingly come to the country… if you can guarantee an insect-free experience? ;) Love your lunch idea — can’t wait to try it!

    Dad — Thanks! You can change up the recipe, too — add some herbs and chile. Yum!

  11. Ann Says:
    July 9th, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Mardi — Enjoy the beautiful ciel de Paris! This recipe is good for using up bits of leftovers — cheese, eggs, veg.

    Emma — Oooh, yes, sour cream, spring onions… dare I suggest smoked salmon? I might have to whip up another batch!

    Betty — Thanks for sharing a lovely simple lunch idea. I’ll have to try it sometime!

    Christine — Call me crazy, but your words are making me miss winter! (Sorry about your poor daffodils, though.) Enjoy the coziness… blistering temps will arrive soon enough ;)

  12. Karene Says:
    July 9th, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    The recipe looks delicious, and I love your final shot of Manhattan!

  13. CK Says:
    July 10th, 2014 at 2:39 am

    I suspect almost anything in pancake form would be great — except maybe sweet potatoes, which are beyond saving.

  14. Shannon Says:
    July 10th, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    I am strongly with you in the ne pas de zucchini/summer squash camp–for me the flavor is always fishy. However, these festive little cakes have me thinking of taking the plunge…and, as Ina would say, that can’t be a bad thing.

    That last picture of Manhattan is so dramatic and gothic–like vampire weather.

  15. Ann Says:
    July 11th, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Karene — Thanks! I couldn’t believe the sky when I looked up from the computer — I ran to grab my phone!

    CK — Even sweet potato latkes? :)

    Shannon — Yes!!!!! Anti-zucchini soul sisters! But you CANNOT taste the zucchini in these pancakes — I swear!

  16. Jenine Says:
    July 13th, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    I will definitely make these savory zucchini pancakes. In Hawaii our zucchini glut is year round, they grow very well here

  17. Sandy Maberly Says:
    July 22nd, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Zucchini pancakes with smothered steak on the menu tonight! I couldn’t help but sneak a pancake while making them. Mmmmmm, delicious!

  18. Becca Says:
    July 28th, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Just made these for my 16-month-old and he loved them! Thanks! The recipe was easy, and he enjoyed helping too. ;-)

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