Normally, if a recipe doesn’t work out, I just send it off on a Viking funeral (figuratively, rest assured) and graciously let it go. It happens, sometimes even with trusted sources; cooking is a combination of art and science, and I’m comfortable with that. There are dozens of food-related ideas swirling in my brain-sphere at any given moment, and when something doesn’t pan out, I’m happy to move on.
I wasn’t even that into you, coconut rum cake. Whatever. Onto the pyre you go.
I’m always happy to move on, but the exception remains in these zucchini-feta pancakes. I dutifully followed my beloved Moosewood Cookbook‘s guidance.
Step 1: I grated, chopped, whipped and folded as instructed.
Step 2: I ended up with goo that stuck to the pan and was never going to form itself into cohesive pancake units no matter how hard I tried.
Step 3: I ate that mess anyway. It was a delicious, sad mess.
Step 4: So, I thought about what might have gone wrong and set out to fix it.
We’re doing two things differently this time.
First, we’re going to make sure to get as much moisture out of the zucchini as possible. There’s quite a bit in there; I’m sure this made a huge difference. I considered doing this during Round 1, but I was not in over-achiever mode. Medium-achiever, to be precise.
Second, we’re using egg yolks, which the original recipe indicates are optional. Maybe things would’ve worked out without them–I really don’t know. (My guess is: probably. For now, I’m comfortable with mystery.)
Thirdly, we rejoice, for we have perfect crispy little fritters full of zucchini-and-mint freshness playing off of the savory tang of feta. Generous chunks of feta. If you’re tempted to skip the mint, I encourage you not to. It can take your breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) from good to stellar. Don’t you want stellar? Get it! Live it! Eat it!
(P.S. Type “viking funeral” into YouTube and you’ll see that every other video is related to hamsters… Internet, you are a kooky little diamond. Shine on.)
Zucchini and Feta Pancakes
(adapted from Moosewood Cookbook)
1 lb zucchini (about 3 medium ones), grated
4 eggs, separated
6 oz crumbled feta
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
Olive oil for pan-frying
Sour cream or yogurt/additional green onions for topping
Sprinkle a generous pinch of salt over the zucchini and toss to coat. Let it rest for 15 minutes or so, then squeeze out as much moisture as you can, using a strainer or cheesecloth.
Combine the zucchini, egg yoks, feta, onions, mint and flour in a large bowl and season with pepper. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold them gently into the other mixture.
Heat up 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Using about 1/3 of a cup of batter per pancake, fry them for a couple minutes on each side, until golden brown. Serve topped with sour cream or yogurt and additional onions. Makes 15-ish small pancakes, and thus serves 4-6.