I have suffered my share of unsuccessful attempts at zucchini pancakes, and it all comes down to this: inadequate (and in one case, nonexistent) draining of the shredded zucchini.
But what a difference it makes! I often try to figure out if recipe steps are actually essential, or are just fussiness. This step, as my husband may be heard saying to our son at bedtime, is “not optional.”
Besides that not unimportant impact on the pancake’s integrity (so you are not left with, let’s call it what it is, slop), the salting also brightens the flavor of the zucchini and improves its texture. I’m not always a fan of many preparations of squash (summer or winter) because they are simply just too water-logged. Roasted? Good. Sauteed? Meh. Steamed? Help! Dry vs. wet. It’s all making sense now.
Many recipes for these griddlecakes suggest a bit of shredded onion for flavor, but I threw in dill instead. As a devoted eater of Greek and Turkish food, I know that cucumber (another vegetable improved by a pre-salting to draw out water) and dill go together well. Zucchini sort of looks like cucumber, so…why not? (Is that a weird way to go about flavor pairings? Oh well). It worked. Dill resulted in flecks of vibrant green and a fresh, ferny flavor. I enjoyed it with my homemade yogurt, which I always have plenty of (and which refers back to the tzatziki inspiration for this dish).
A successful venture: pancakes finally mastered, a zucchini recipe that pleases my picky taste buds. Oh, and once you’ve drained the zucchini, it’s fast too!
Zucchini Pancakes with Dill
- 1 1/2 lb zucchini (about three medium)
- 1t baking powder
- 1/3c flour
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 c fresh dill, minced
- butter for frying
Shred the zucchini, layering with salt. (I sprinkled about a half teaspoon of salt after each addition of zucchini). Place in a colander to drain for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally. Squeeze out the remaining liquid, as much as you can.
Mix the zucchini in with the rest of the ingredients. Heat a heavy skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat and melt the butter, just until the foam subsides. Add the batter, forming pancakes. After a few minutes, when the top has begun to firm up slightly, flip to cook the other side. Pancakes should be crispy brown on both sides. Serve immediately, with yogurt.
These cook fast, but you can keep them warm in a 200F/90C oven.