Zucchini Season is Upon Us

Plain old potato pancakes are a total snooze compared these zucchini cakes. The savory onions, the salty olives, and the tangy feta bring these cakes to another level.  I love them spread with Greek yogurt as a snack or a side dish, but they also make a great vegetarian dinner sitting atop your favorite pasta with a side of tomato sauce. Perhaps you have a ton of extra zucchini hanging out in your garden right now? And if you don’t, somebody you know probably does!

Zucchini Cakes

Greek-Leaning Zucchini Cakes:

5 medium zucchini (about 1.5 #), grated on the large holes of a box grater or using a food processor

1 small yellow or white onion, small dice

4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 C. Kalamata olives, chopped

3/4 C. feta cheese, crumbled

2 eggs

lots of fresh dill, chopped

1/2 – 3/4 C. almond flour (or bread crumbs)

S & P

olive oil for frying

The trick to this recipe is to squeeze as much of the water out of the grated zucchini as possible.  I think this is best achieved using a two bowls, side by side, next to the sink.  First, season the grated zucchini with 1 Tbsp of kosher salt and toss together thoroughly in a bowl.  This will help to draw out the water.  Chop the onion, garlic, kalamatas, and dill while you wait for the salt to do its work.

Now return your attention to the zucchini and grab a moderate handful from the bowl.  SQUEEZE the zucchini with both hands very tightly over the sink, letting the water drip down the drain.  Place the handful of dry zucchini into the other bowl. Repeat until all of the zucchini has been squeezed.  Pour any excess water out of the original bowl, dry it and set aside.  Now let the zucchini rest again and move on to some sauteing.

Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and saute the onion in olive oil for 3 minutes or so, until just barely starting to color.  Season with salt and pepper and add the garlic, cooking for another 2-3 minutes and then turn off the heat.

Back to the zucchini: Using the same technique, squeeze all the zucchini again, placing it back into the first bowl.  Add in the onion and garlic mixture, the feta, kalamatas, dill, eggs, almond flour, and plenty of pepper. You shouldn’t need any more salt at this point. Stir everything together gently and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes or up to one hour to chill. 

When I’m ready to fry the cakes, I use the same pan I cooked the onion and garlic in, just wiping it out with a paper towel.  Check the zucchini mix to make sure the cakes will hold together.  If they are too wet, add the extra 1/4 C. almond flour.  Preheat the pan over medium-high heat.  Add about 1/4 C. of olive oil to the hot pan and begin frying your cakes, using a large spoon for a more free-form cake, or shaping them more carefully with your hands as you might form crab cakes (this is most easily achieved with slightly damp hands).

Fry them for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until they are nice and golden brown.  You can keep them warm in a 300 degree oven as you go.

It is best to use cook all of the mixture at once, as somehow water will seemingly continue to leach out of the zucchini until the end of time.  To reheat leftover cakes, place into a preheated 350 degree oven on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or until hot.

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