Zucchini pancakes & frittata: turning green into gold

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Zucchini muffins.

Check.

Zucchini bread.

Check.

Zucchini chocolate cake, and cookies, and caponata, and frittata, and dip, and…

Check, check, and double check.

Is there anything, any combination of zukes, flour, eggs, and herbs and spices and sugar and butter and [fill in the blank] we haven’t thrown together to put a dent in the ever-growing pile of zucchini outside the back door?

Methinks not. Though we keep trying to come up with new uses for this all-star of everyone’s backyard garden.

Speaking of frittata, my 90-year-old MIL just happened to tell me her mother’s zucchini frittata recipe yesterday over the phone. This recipe must be just about 100 years old, and it’s been a favorite in my husband’s family for decades.

Bet you’d like to hear it, right?

“Fry grated zucchini – Ma used 2 zucchini and 1 summer squash – and chopped onion with olive oil in a spider [cast iron pan]. Put eggs and Parmesan in a bowl. When the zucchini and onion is cooked, turn it out of the pan into the bowl with the eggs and cheese; it should come right out without sticking.

“Put the spider back on the stove to heat. Stir the vegetables with the egg and cheese, and pour back into the hot spider. Put it in the oven to bake until it rises and turns golden brown. Cut in wedges, spread with butter, and eat for breakfast.”

Though my husband always liked my zucchini frittata, it wasn’t quite “like Gram used to make.” Now I know Gram’s secret; and so do all of you.

But back to the task at hand: finding new uses for heaven’s gift to the green-thumb challenged: zucchini.

The following recipe for Zucchini-Cheese Pancakes isn’t new; it’s been on our site for years. But it’s been feeling neglected lately, so what better time than the present to resurrect an old favorite?

These cakes aren’t the type you serve with butter and maple syrup, for breakfast. Instead, serve them just as they come off the griddle, no embellishments needed. Or spread hot cakes with butter, if you like.

Serve the cakes at breakfast, with eggs; at lunch, with a salad, or try them alongside pasta at dinnertime. They reheat nicely in the toaster, and they’re even good at room temperature; wrap up a few cakes and stow in your backpack for your next hike.

And in the meantime, stow this recipe in your bookmarks folder; trust me, you’ll be needing it over the next few weeks!

Now, on to the pancakes.

First, grate a cup of cheese. This is Parmesan; I think it stands up well to the remaining ingredients in these cakes. For best flavor, choose a stronger (Parmesan, sharp cheddar) rather than milder (Monterey Jack, mozzarella) cheese.

Next, grate some zucchini. You need about 4 cups, coarsely grated. This translates to about 1 pound, or about a 10″ zucchini.

Stir together the following:

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or coarse black pepper
2/3 cup chopped chives or scallions; about 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil*
1 teaspoon dried oregano*

Substitute 2 teaspoons Pizza Seasoning for the dried herbs, if desired, reducing salt to 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Add the zucchini and cheese, stirring to combine.

Add 1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, stirring until the flour is thoroughly mixed in.

Preheat a griddle to medium-hot – about 400°F, if you have an electric griddle.

Drop the batter by 1/4-cupfuls onto the hot, lightly greased griddle. A muffin scoop is the ideal tool here.

Now, before you plop a whole lineup of cakes onto the griddle, fry one cake first; that’ll let you get your griddle temperature down without burning or under-cooking half your recipe.

If necessary, spread the cake until it’s 3 1/2″ to 4″ in diameter.

Cook the cake for 3 minutes, or until it’s brown on the bottom, and bubbles have appeared on the top. The top surface will appear somewhat dry and set.

Flip over, and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on the second side…

…or until it’s as moist/cooked as you like when you break it open.

I like mine pretty moist inside, but it’s up to you.

Repeat with the remaining batter. You can fit about 8 cakes on a nice-size griddle.

Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold; with butter and grated cheese, or without.

Store any leftovers, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator. Reheat in a toaster or toaster oven, if desired.

Read, rate, and review (please) our recipe for Zucchini-Cheese Pancakes.

Print just the recipe.

So, I couldn’t resist trying the frittata.

My husband’s comment? “Hey, this is pretty good.” Which for him, means, “Totally awesome, you can definitely make this again.”

Here’s what I did.

2 pounds zucchini/summer squash (2 zucchini, 1 summer squash), grated
1 large onion (11 ounces), diced
1 ½ cups (6 ounces) grated Parmesan
6 to 8 eggs; I used 2 large and 4 jumbo

First, salt the squash, put it in a colander, weigh it down, and drain for an hour or so.

Combine with the onion, and fry in olive oil in a large (12″) cast iron pan. Fry until soft; the vegetables will greatly diminish in volume. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Put the cheese and eggs in a bowl. Add the vegetables, and stir to combine.

Drizzle some olive oil into a smaller (9″ to 10″) cast iron skillet, and heat it on the stovetop. Spoon the vegetables into the pan, and bake in a preheated 400°F oven for about 25 minutes, until the frittata is light golden brown on top. Serve hot, in wedges.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll have it for breakfast, with butter…

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. rdr

    Okay, I’m feeling really tempted here… I have two obnoxiously picky little non-eaters — LITERALLY picky, like picking the vegetables out of pasta sauce, picking them off their pizza, out of the casserole, etc. The thought of grating up zucchini and hiding it in their pancakes is either sheer genius or the catalyst for World War Three. Would you say this is a child-friendly recipe, or is it better suited to those whose palates have progressed beyond PB&J and chicken fingers?
    I vote for giving in to temptation. I made zucchini pancakes for my children (2 out of three are extremely picky) and they loved them. You can just keep their favorite cheese or marinara sauces handy for dipping. Of course if there are no takers in the end, it means more for you!!! ~Amy

    Reply
  2. mreader

    I once made a zucchini pie on a dare! It was a long time ago – I think I found a recipe for a carrot pie and substituted the zucchini.
    Sounds tasty to me! How did it turn out? Like a quiche or? Inquiring minds are interested to know! ;) ~Jessica

    Reply
  3. justplainbeth

    Could I use your Gluten Free flour mix in place of all purpose without disastrous results??

    No promises, but this seems like a good place to try it. Some recipes don’t translate easily to GF; this one seems like it would… If you do make them, we’d appreciate it if you could share your results here – thanks! PJH

    Reply
  4. gaa

    Thank you PJ! I don’t have a garden but I do buy lots of fresh locally grown Pennsylvania produce at my farmers markets. The flavor cannot be beat and I love supporting my local farmers. Zucchini is abundant right now and I am always looking for good recipes in which to feature it. I saw this recipe Friday, hit the farmers’ market Saturday AM and made these for dinner Saturday nite with fresh local corn on the cob and sliced tomatoes. These pancakes are outstanding. Quick and easy to put together, incredibly tasty and satisfying. Great plain, with a smear of butter or dipped in aged balsamic vinegar. These are a keeper for sure. Couple of questions … (1) if I substitute white whole wheat flour for the AP, should I use the same amount of flour (by weight) and (2) should I let the batter rest a bit to allow the glutens to develop the way I do with your whole grain pancake recipe (BTW your whole grain pancakes are incredible. I make my own mix from your recipe. Haven’t purchased pancake mix from the market in years!)

    Hi,
    1) Nope, you need to use a bit less flour, this is due to the absorptive qualities of the bran in the White Whole Wheat.

    2) Yes, to allow the bran to fully hydrate before baking a 10-15 minute rest in the pan before baking is a good idea.

    Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  5. erie

    I liked, after I prepared them though my batter was much thicker than what I see in the picture. And I even used a little less cheese since I was using a sharper one. Also the recipe in the link does not tell you when to add the scallion to the mixture.

    The recipe in the link says to add the “chives or onion” along with the zucchini – maybe that’s where the confusion comes in, as the recipe uses chives or chopped onion rather than the scallions used in the blog. Glad you liked these – PJH

    Reply
  6. erie

    Hi again,

    This is what I find in the link:
    Add the herbs, zucchini, and cheese, stirring to combine.
    I know understand that you mean herbs and onion/scallion. Or PJH is referring to a different link.

    Ah! My bad, I was looking at the wrong version of the recipe. We’re in the process of transferring all our recipes from old to new site, so I just grabbed the wrong one. Anyway, fixed now and thanks for bringing it to my attention. PJH

    Reply
  7. mdavis11609

    I “hid” grated zucchini in fluffy pancakes and my kids ate them willingly – with plenty of maple syrup. I’m not sure they would have eaten them if they knew!
    Way to go, sneaky mom!!!

    Reply
  8. PinsEmbroidery

    Would you have a gluten-free version of this recipe? My garden is full of zucchini and this sounds delicious!
    1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum and some gluten free multi-purpose flour should do the trick for this recipe. Give it a try and please let us know if it works out for you! ~Amy

    Reply
  9. ccmoseley

    I served these to skeptical family with grated mozzarella and salsa and they loved them. I will make them again for sure. Tiny ones would make great appetizers.

    Reply
  10. Kristina

    what if I don’t have a cast iron pan (blasphamous, I know, but true). Can I put it a ceramic pie pan that I pre-heat in the oven with oil instead? Or what other substitute would you recommend? thanks!
    I think that would work, Kristina. What you are not getting from using ceramic is the nice bottom color and searing effect that the skillet provides. I have my mom’s skillets in just about every size, plus a stove top griddle! Elisabeth

    Reply
  11. patty

    Does the frittata freeze well? Just wondering about making a few to eat later in the fall. thanks for your help
    We don’t recommend freezing egg dishes that use eggs as the main ingredient. It may be better to freeze the processed zucchini, draining it well before using it in baking or cooking. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply

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