Working With What You Have: Zucchini & Scallions
OTHER WAYS TO USE YOUR ZUCCHINI: Zucchini-Shallot Frittata; Green Goddess Soup with Zucchini, Chard, and Cilantro; Baked Orzo Ratatouille; Mediterranean Vegetable Hash; Squash Chips with Basil and Balsamic Drizzle; Parlsey Zucchini
The other day, a friend of my family came over for dinner and brought with him one fat kid of a zucchini from his garden. It might have been larger than my femur. He advised my mother to break it down into slices and slowly roast them at a low temperature, 250 degrees, for around 2 hours. She obediently followed his instructions the following week and, as promised, the 5 pound vegetable shrank down to but a cup or two of perfectly caramelized pieces.
When I moved back into my parents’ apartment earlier this summer, I inherited a few smaller zucchini that my mother had bought at the farmers’ market, no doubt with this soup in mind, but which she had left behind when she migrated to Martha’s Vineyard. Instead of finding a way to reduce it to nothing, I decided to stretch the little guys and make many delicious bites.
The little zucchini patties I ended up making were not terribly dissimilar from my corn cakes from last summer. And though I savored the fresh zucchini flavor, and that of a few crunchy green scallions–also left behind in my mother’s fridge–by eating these cakes plain, they would benefit from the addition of a creamy summer sauce like the corn cakes’ lemon creme fraiche, or a version of this cilantro crema.
Whether you are stretching your teeny tiny zucchini or trying to get rid of vegetables as large as a giant’s appendages, these cakes make for a perfect summer appetizer. I hope you inherit some of your own so you can give them a whirl.
From my kitchen, up to my ears in zucchini, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
1 medium zucchini, grated ( about 1 1/2 cups)
2 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
Combine the zucchini, scallions, flour, sugar, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Toss to combine. Add the egg, lemon juice, and zest and stir until well incorporated.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter (you can use more olive oil if keeping this recipe dairy-free) in a large cast iron skillet. Once the butter is melted and the oil is fairly hot, drop in the zucchini mixture in tablespoonfuls, making sure not to crowd the pan (about 5 at a time). Cook for about 1 minute on each side until browned and semi-firm. Remove to a paper towel to drain and repeat with the remaining zucchini mixture, adding more oil as necessary.
NOTE: this can be done a day in advance. Simply reheat the cakes in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.