Zucchini Patties, Now and Next Winter, Too.

Golden brown zucchini cake with a generous dollop of chili sauce on it.

Golden brown zucchini cake with a generous dollop of chili sauce on it.

Of course, I have zucchini in the garden. What gardener doesn’t? (Except perhaps for the smart people who only plant one plant.) This year I am growing Cocozelle and Costata Di Romanesco, plus a yellow patty pan called Sunburst, and a pretty yellow summer squash with a green end called Zephyr. There have been a couple times when I briefly turned my back on the garden, and you know what happened. So, grating those bigger ones to use in various dishes seems like a good idea.

You’ve seen recipes here for using zucchini in Deep Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cake and zucchini relish, and miscellaneous other things. I probably even mentioned already the benefit of freezing grated zucchini and summer squash in one cup blobs to heave into soup, tomato sauce, or to use in zucchini bread recipes, and even cake in winter.

For some reason, though, this zucchini season, Toby and I have fallen in love with these little fritter-like zucchini cakes as a vegetable side or even as a main course. It helps to put some wonderful thing on top like a sauce or chutney but they are good plain with salt and pepper. And you absolutely have to eat them fresh and hot right off the pan before they have a chance to get soggy.

With a minor flood of vegetables at this season, it is a good idea to have a few expedient preservations methods at hand. Freezing grated summer squash is one of the quickest ways to handle a lot of squash, especially if you have a grater attachment for a food processor. I merely drop clumps of grated squash on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper; then I lay another piece of waxed paper on top, and flatten them. I stick the pan in the freezer, and when the clumps are frozen solid, I slide them into a large freezer bag. That’s all. When I need them, they are easy to pry individually from the paper. In baking recipes, you have to squeeze the thawed zuke to remove excess water. Most of my frozen squash ends up added to soup or pasta sauce for bolstering our vegetable intake, but would be perfectly suitable for these lovely little zucchini cakes.

Vary zucchini cakes by adding fresh or dried herbs like dill, basil, parsley, tarragon, oregano, plus garlic, onions, or shallots. I had some garlic-scape pesto that I used in one batch. Salt and pepper are a must.

How much flour you need will vary depending on how juicy your squash is. I sprinkle it lightly over the grated squash and toss it with my hands to distribute it. You don’t need much at all, just enough to coat the squash very lightly, so that it feels dry to the touch.

The zucchini, flour, and egg mixture ready for frying.

The zucchini, flour, and egg mixture ready for frying.

Fried Zucchini Patties
2 cups grated zucchini (or summer squash)
¼ cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper
Finely chopped onion to taste, optional
Minced garlic to taste, optional
Herbs to taste, optional

Drop the zucchini into a medium mixing bowl, and sprinkle the flour over it, Toss to distribute the flour. Add the beaten eggs, plus salt and pepper, and any seasonings you desire. Mix well. Lightly oil a frying pan, and heat it until it is quite hot. Drop patties on the pan, and then reduce the heat somewhat. Fry for about five minutes a side, or until the patties are a golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately.
Makes about six patties.

Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.