Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zucchini Cakes

Raise your hand if you buy an ingredient w/ grand ideas of making something fabulous recipe you saw somewhere only to allow the ingredient get shoved behind the mountains of other things in your fridge and find it several days (or weeks if I'm being real) later with spots of mold and rot forming?  

*hand sheepishly raises*

I ended up using FIVE eggs instead so they're pretty hearty.
Could be used on top of salad as a light dinner or as a healthy breakfast.

That was the exact story of these beautiful zucchini I saw at the store after I was inspired by the award winning zucchini bread I posted about a while ago.  Um, yeah..  I read the recipe through and realized I'd only be using ONE freaking zucchini.  Plus, there were so many steps with the streusel, and choices between muffins or cakes, etc., etc., etc. I abandoned that and remembered about zucchini cakes.  


Zucchini Cakes


I did a little research and found several different versions and came up with my own mish-mash (that's a technical term) of several different versions out there using what I had on hand. 

Love the texture on these.

Zucchini Cakes

makes roughly a dozen 3" cakes

2-3 med/large zucchinis, grated and wring dry in a clean dish towel
1 c panko breadcrumbs (I'm sure regular breadcrumbs would work well too)
1/2 c grated parmigiano reggiano
5 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder (you can also use fresh)
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
light oil for frying

As with most cooking (NOT baking), this recipe's pretty forgiving so if you don't have exactly what's written here, don't worry - they should still turn out ok.  If you have more zucchini, add a little more egg, less, subtract and so on.

Grate zucchini on the large shred side of your box grater, should yield about 4 to 4.5 cups.  Next in a clean dish towel or cheese cloth, wring out the excess moisture of the grated zucchini in batches.  You'll want the shreds as dry as possible so they don't end up a soggy mess when you're frying them in the pan.  What's left should be about 3.5 cups of shreds that should be mostly dry to the touch.  Mix eggs, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders together.  Fold grated cheese and breadcrumbs in to eggs then transfer the egg mixture into the zucchini and incorporate.  Let the mix stand for a few minutes.

In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a frying pan or cast iron skillet on medium heat.  When the pan is radiating heat (not yet smoking), heat 1/4" of oil in the pan until the oil starts to shimmer.  Drop in 3" heaps of the cakes and fry for a few (3-4) minutes until golden, flip and fry for another minute or two on the other side.  This will vary depending on how hot your stove is - I ended up having to turn down to low heat, they're a lot like cooking breakfast pancakes, first batch may or may not be sacrificial.

It's important not to crowd the pan or else you won't get a nice crispy texture on the outside of your cakes.  Transfer to a wire rack and finish frying the remaining batches.  When the cakes are done frying, put them in the oven for 5-10 minutes to set the middle of the cakes.  




Make ahead tips: you can actually freeze these after you've pan fried them and bake from frozen instead of finishing off or split the batch and only stick what you plan on eating in the oven, freeze the rest.  Just bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until they're warmed through.

These are great w/ ranch or some tzatziki (thx Karen!) for dipping.   

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