My aunt dropped off a bunch of zucchini on my porch several weeks ago. Thanks, Masi (“aunt”). Zucchini is my least favourite harvest item, but I will eat it without complaining. I just don’t get excited about it (except for ratatouille). There is so much of it. I get as excited about zucchini as I do about cookies, muffins, and cake. Everyone around me is all “yay, chocolate zucchini bread/cake/muffins! And then I’m going to give the rest away!” I’m all like “I’ll make some ratatouille. And…then figure out something to do with the rest that is piled up on my porch.”
So, that is what the zucchini latkes came out of. My aunt dropped off a pile of zucchini and cucumbers at my house, and since we always have freshly made whole milk yogourt in our fridge I decided to make tzatziki with the cucumbers. It was a hot day. I didn’t know what to make to go with the tzatziki. I didn’t want to make flat bread. And I didn’t want to go shopping. I wanted something that didn’t involve baking, or too much cooking. Tzatziki is thick and creamy. Like sour cream. Sour cream goes well with potato latkes. We only have one potato. Look at all that zucchini. I bet those could be turned into latkes.
I was right.
The following should make a very filling meal for 2 people, or will serve 4 if it’s a side dish.
2 packed cups grated zucchini (skin and all)
1 small potato, shredded (skin and all)
1 small grated onion
½ cup flour (approximately)
salt and pepper to taste
Crack the egg into a bowl and beat well. Add the vegetables, salt, and pepper. Add flour a little at a time to thicken the batter and combine the shredded vegetables together, so they stay intact when dropped by the spoonful.
Heat 1 tbps oil over medium heat in a thick bottomed frying pan. Drop batter into pan by the tablespoon full, and using the back of the spoon spread it out so it is about 4 inches in diameter. I can make 3 at a time in my 10 inch cast iron skillet. Cook until lightly-browned, and then flip over and brown the other side. Continue until you’ve used up all the batter, and add oil as needed to the pan.
Serve with sour cream, or use the fall bounty to make tzatziki, raiyta, or apple sauce to serve with it.
So, that’s the latkes. Now for the other.
Several years ago a Russian friend and I were house-sitting for a mutual friend, who is an extraordinary gardener. He was away with his family on vacation, around the end of August. We were to tend his garden, eat what we wanted, and take what we wanted home to our families. We happily did all that. As always though, the garden was overflowing with zucchini. We decided to try a different take on an eggplant salad my Russian friend normally makes, by substituting the eggplant with zucchini. I prefer this with eggplant, but it did work very well with zucchini.
Russian Zucchini-instead-of-Eggplant Salad
1 large zucchini (approximately same diameter as a good sized eggplant)
1 cup chopped cilantro
4-6 (or more!) cloves garlic, minced
2-4 tbsp cooking oil (I rarely use olive oil when cooking and prefer to eat it raw in salads or as a garnish, but olive oil works well here)
Heat a couple of tbsp oil in a thick bottomed skillet, over medium heat. Slice the zucchini into rounds- about ½ – ¾ cm thick. Place each round in the skillet, and cook for a couple of minutes on each side. In a round casserole dish or other flat-bottomed serving dish (about 8-10 inches wide) place 5-8 cooked zucchini rounds in a layer. Sprinkle with salt, about ¼ of the garlic, and ¼ of the cilantro. Continue layering as such until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with cilantro as the last layer. Serve right away or at room-temperature.
I thought I was all zucchini’ed out, but maybe I’ll go make some of that Russian salad for lunch.