Some of you are just starting to see zucchini’s and summer squash hanging from their vines, while more of you are swimming in the abundance wondering what else you could possibly do with them. As a kid, I wasn’t always thrilled to see the piles of green squash throughout our house, but there were two dishes that I happily gobbled up and then asked for more. One is my beloved Zucchini Soup, which is a simple smooth puree of steamed zucchini with a handful of other ingredients.
The other takes the virtues of a good oil and sears shreds of squash into a mid-summer latke. A griddle or cast-iron pan is the perfect tool to get a golden crisp to the edges. I typically use a hearty olive oil, but coconut oil could give it an exotic twist, while butter could add an almost caramelized flavor. I also keep the temperature of the skillet or griddle to medium. Anything above this will cause these more gentle fats to smoke. This also results in destroying the good nutrients in the fats as well. Check out this handy Smoke Point list from Wikipedia to see about your own preferred oils. Ghee is also an amazing option anytime you want a higher smoke point. It is butter with the milk solids removed thereby almost doubling the smoke point. Whatever fat you choose there are a few simple steps to ensure crisp edges on a Summer Squash or Zucchini Pancake.
The first critical step is to squeeze out any excess liquid from the zucchini. Just as you would with traditional potato latkes, salt by osmosis will help remove some of the water from the squash so that the pancakes will crisp rather than steam.
If you have those baseball bat sized zucs this is a pretty good way to use them. Cut out the seeds (they are a bit too rough and inedible in flavor for shredding) and then shred up the flesh & skin. The salting process will aid in removing any of the bitter taste overgrown squash sometimes has.
Another interesting part of this recipe is there isn’t a lot of batter. Really there is just enough to keep all of the squash together in pancake form. But, if you want more batter, simply double the amount of eggs & flour. I like a bit of parmesan for the flavor, but it is entirely optional.
Summer Squash Pancakes (serves about 2)
3 cups zucchini or summer squash, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher is actually ideal, if using increase the amount to just under 1 teaspoon)
2 tablespoons flour (wheat or your favorite gluten-free flour will do, brown-rice flour works just fine)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon grated parmesan, optional
1 pinch black pepper, more to taste
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, ghee, coconut oil or butter
Toss the shredded squash in a colander with the salt. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes up to 30 minutes.
Squeeze out the excess liquid with your hands and shake dry.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, egg, parmesan (if using) and the black pepper.
Fold the shredded vegetables into the batter.
Heat a griddle or skillet (cast-iron works well for this!) over medium heat. Melt in a bit of your preferred fat. Scoop on a generous dollop of batter. Allow it to sear for 3-6 minutes. Flip it over once the bottom side is golden and sear on the other side until golden and cooked through.
Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more ghee, butter or oil as needed.