Every weekend, Walker requests pancakes for breakfast. If I don’t make them, he wants to go out to a place that does. It inevitably leads to a conversation where I roll my eyes about another weekend of boredom with pancakes, and Walker continues to beg.
He loves pancakes so much that he’s really pretty indiscriminate about them. He even loves IHOP – the International House of Pancakes. Rooty Tooty Fresh’n Fruity is the one he talks about most. It’s sad really. So eventually I gave into the begging – even though I know it reinforces bad behavior – and agreed to make him some pancakes.
When someone says pancake, I imagine everyone’s mind immediately jumps to a stack of sweet pancakes, slathered with butter and dripping with maple syrup. Well, I suppose you could do that to these pancakes, but I’d advise against it.
You see, I’ve done something sneaky. I’ve filled Walker’s pancakes with zucchini, and to mask the fact that they’re mostly vegetables, I’ve also added a favorite ingredient of his: cheese. So probably not all that tasty with maple syrup. But don’t worry, they’re plenty tasty all on their own. And super cute too – they’re flecked with pink and green from the red onion and zucchinis. I’ve never seen a preppier pancake.
I served these with a yogurt and garlic sauce the first day, and with the leftovers, we made sandwiches from garlic bagels for lunch. They’re great both ways.
Adapted from Luissa, The Wednesday Chef
Makes 12 pancakes
3 medium zucchini, shredded
half a medium red onion chopped finely
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 to 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, more as needed
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place the shredded zucchini in a colander over a bowl, and mix with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Allow to drain for five minutes. Transfer to a cloth kitchen towel, wrap it up, and twist both ends of the towel in opposite directions so that you are squeezing the moisture out of the zucchini. The idea is to reduce the size of the shredded zucchini to half of its original size.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine zucchini, onion and eggs. Using a fork, mix well. Add flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, olive oil, feta, scallions, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Mix well.
3. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and heat until shimmering. Place heaping tablespoons of zucchini batter in pan several inches apart, allowing room to spread. Flatten them with a spatula – the baking powder will help them puff up again. You should aim for pancakes to be about 3/8 inch thick and about 3 inches in diameter. Any bigger than this is hard to eat. Fry until golden on one side, then turn and fry again until golden on other side. Repeat once or twice, frying about 5 to 6 minutes total, so pancakes get quite crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, and keep warm in oven. Continue frying remaining batter, adding more oil to pan as needed. Serve hot.
4. For yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, combine yogurt, garlic and salt. Mix well, and serve on the side or on pancakes.