Latkes are usually made with potatoes. But I didn’t have a monster potato that I had to use before it went bad, I had a zucchini.
If this sounds familiar, it’s the same way I started the blueberry peach crisp recipe. There’s a lesson there: You don’t always have to pick a recipe then go buy the ingredients. When you’ve got a garden — or access to a good farmers market — you get the ingredients when they’re ready, then find a recipe to use them in.
4 cups shredded zucchini (don’t peel)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon minced onion
½ cup milk
black pepper to taste
bacon fat or oil for frying
First step is shredding the zucchini. This one started out like normal … cut the end off and go at it with the cheese grater.
Then something started gumming it up. I cut about three inches off the end and found …
Seeds! I’ve worked with zucchini before but never had to deal with seeds. I talked to a neighbor who also got one of these monsters.
Not only were they huge, check out the price.
(Click to enlarge. Or trust me that it says 75 cents each.)
And if I really wanted to go crazy, I could have gotten this mutant.
Anyway, my neighbor had seeds in hers, too. I guess when you let Zucchini keep growing until they’re freakishly large they develop seeds. Okay, learned something new today.
So I cut that piece in half and scooped out the seeds with a large spoon, then finished grating.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl: zucchini, flour, baking powder, eggs, garlic salt, oregano, milk and pepper.
The oregano was from the garden (Yay!) and the milk was buttermilk. The recipe called for milk, but we had some buttermilk left from another recipe and figured it would work just as well. It did.
Stir everything together, but don’t beat it so much you break up the zucchini.
We were having these with bacon, so we did the bacon first and just left the fat in the pan.
Heat the fat to just below the smoke point. The hotter it is, the less greasy the latkes will be. (That’s true for anything you’re frying, by the way.)
SAFETY TIP: If you start seeing smoke, don’t just turn the heat down: pull the pan off the burner. A few wisps of smoke that stop as soon as you pull the pan is okay; a lot of smoke even after it’s off means you’ve scorched it and have to start over with fresh fat. It also means you’re courting a grease fire. Don’t do that.
Scoop about a quarter-cup (one overflowing tablespoon) into the pan and press flat.
Don’t crowd the pan or you’ll have trouble flipping them over.
Cook until brown on the bottom and partway up the side — about 3 to 4 minutes — then flip them over.
Cook until brown on the other side, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess fat.
Serve with sour cream.
Or with garlic nuggets and sea salt.
And that’s it.
Want more like this? For more recipes like this, that you can hold right in your hands, and write on, take notes, tear pages out if you want (Gosh, you're tough on books, aren't you?) you might be interested in How To Cook Like Your Grandmother, 2nd edition, Illustrated. Or to learn your way around the kitchen, check out Starting From Scratch: The Owner's Manual for Your Kitchen.