Before I knew it, yet another gorgeous summer in the city flew by. Fortunately, the summer sun is still shining bright in New York City. In honor of the brightest of seasons, I took a few extra trips to the Hell’s Kitchen Greenmarket to savor the best of summertime produce.
What could be more beautiful than summer tomatoes? The heirloom, yellow, and green tomatoes at the Greenmarket popped like a kaleidoscope of gems, and I could not help myself but pick up just enough for an extra generous summer salad. Add a few drizzles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and you have a vibrant (and super quick and easy) side dish, and for extra kicks of flavor, try a few sprinkles of red chili flakes or basil leaves. I like to leave my summer tomatoes unadulterated to truly enjoy them at their very most flavorful. Yum!
Another summertime favorite of mine, summer zucchini pancakes, is dear to my heart. This simple dish brings to mind many joyful memories of my childhood, especially memories of my grandmother. I’ve spent many school time lunch hours savoring these zucchini pancakes while listening to my grandparents’ stories of their childhoods. Below is my version of the recipe, though, full disclosure, as someone who spent many childhood hours playing sous chef to my parents and grandparents in the kitchen, my recipes are approximate (serving sizes may be generous) and learned through watching the chef-in-charge rather than reading a list of instructions. The end result of this process is that, though making the same dish, each chef’s personal style shines through. These zucchini pancakes make for a hearty and nutritious breakfast or lunch, and I hope you’ll enjoy them!
Grandma’s Zucchini Pancakes (recipe serves 2)
- Two green zucchinis, approximately 1.75 pounds
- Eggs, 3
- All purpose flour, 6 tablespoons
- Garlic, 2 cloves finely minced
- Rice vinegar, 4 tablespoons
- Black pepper, freshly ground
- Mince garlic and mix with rice vinegar to create the dipping sauce for the zucchini pancakes. Set aside while you prepare the pancakes to allow the fresh garlic flavor to be fully incorporated into the vinegar. Feel free to add a touch of fresh herbs you may have in the kitchen. I typically limit the dipping sauce to just garlic and vinegar so I can better enjoy the sweetness of fresh, summertime zucchini.
- Scramble the eggs and slowly mix in flour while stirring the mixture. When the eggs and flour mixture is smooth, add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Using a vegetable grater, grate both zucchinis to a course grate. A proper course grate will keep the zucchinis in sufficiently thick strips to bring texture and bite to the pancakes. Be sure to watch your fingers when grating vegetables! I’ve always had a bit of trouble with this and found that rotating the zucchini, rather than grating along one edge, makes the grating process easier to control.
- Combine the grated zucchinis and the eggs and flour mixture in one bowl, and mix thoroughly to create the zucchini pancake batter. While you are mixing the batter, begin heating a non-stick frying pan.
- Once the frying pan is hot, scoop four tablespoons of the batter into the pan and gently spread the batter to its desired size and thickness. Using a frying pan that is at least 2 inches wider in diameter than that of the pancakes will help with the ease of flipping (see next step). To create some crispiness, add a teaspoon of vegetable oil or coconut oil to the pan before heating. While this is desirable for creating that savory crispiness around the edges, it is certainly not necessary for those who prefer a more health-conscious approach.
- Allow the pancake to cook in the pan on medium high heat for approximately 3 minutes or until golden brown before flipping with a spatula, and allow the pancake to continue cooking on the other side for 2 to 3 minutes until both sides are golden brown. Keep in mind that the thicker the pancake, the longer it should cook on each side.
- Once both sides of the pancake are golden brown, success! Your zucchini pancake is ready to be devoured with the dipping sauce. If you have a helper in the kitchen, use multiple pans (1 pancake in each pan) to speed up the process of cooking the remaining batter . Continue making pancakes by repeating steps 5 and 6 until you have a pile of delicious summer zucchini pancakes. Serve hot with a bit of the dipping sauce drizzled on top. Enjoy!