If your vegetable garden :: orto is overflowing with zucchinis (check!), I have a delicious solution for you: zucchini pancakes! They’re easy to prepare and and a delicious “italicana” (Italian+ American) twist to the classic pancake recipe.
These pancakes are absolutely divine for brunch or served as a gourmet appetizer. I suggest pairing them with a glass of prosecco, a sparkling white Italian wine :: vino.
In this recipe, the grated :: grattugiate zucchini is actually added into the mixture, whereas in my whole wheat pancakes with pear, arugula, walnuts, gorgonzola cream and balsamic vinegar the ingredients are served as a topping.
Speaking of toppings, these zucchini pancakes are smothered with a creamy basil pesto, called in Italy “pesto alla genovese.” I also recommend adding a dollop of soft cheese :: formaggio morbido, like ricotta, cream cheese or stracciatella, to make these pancakes even more dynamic in flavor and texture.
- For the Pesto:
- 2oz (55g) basil leaves, without stems and rinsed
- 1 clove garlic, skin removed
- 1 tablespoon (10g) of pinenuts or walnuts
- 1.3oz (40g) Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grattugiato
- .75oz (25g) Pecorino cheese, freshly grated (*or you can use all Parmigiano Reggiano*)
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (*plus more if needed to arrive at a creamy consistency*)
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- For the pancakes:
- ½ cup (60g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (60g) whole-wheat flour
- ¼ teaspoon (1g) table salt
- 1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon (1g) baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup soy milk (or skim milk)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups (125g) shredded zucchini (from 1 medium zucchini)
- Extra virgin olive oil or butter, qb
- Soft cheese (ricotta, cream cheese, stracciatella), optional
- For the basil pesto:
- Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend, adding more extra virgin olive oil if needed until smooth.
- For the pancakes:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together: flours, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
- In a separate small bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and extra virgin olive oil.
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix gently until just combined. There should be lumps; don’t over mix.
- Put the shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel. Squeeze well to remove the moisture then fold the zucchini into the pancake mixture.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Splash a few drops of water on the pan. If it sizzles, it’s ready. Add a swirl of extra virgin olive oil or a small nob of butter and swirl it around to coat the bottom of the pan. Use an ice cream scoop or a ¼-cup container to easily create a few small circles in the pan, being careful that the mixture doesn’t run into one another. Cook for 2-3 minutes. When lots of bubbles form on the top use a spatula to peek underneath. If the bottom is golden brown flip the pancake. Do not press down on the pancake with the spatula. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the bottom is golden brown.
- Add another small knob of butter and repeat these steps until you have cooked all six pancakes.
- Serve the pancakes with with a dollop of soft cheese like ricotta or cream cheese (optional) and a drizzle of fresh pesto.