I’m all alone this weekend. Sarah has gone a’visiting, and left me here to make my own fun.
I don’t actually much enjoy cooking for one, and usually, when this happens, my food situation quickly becomes more than a little bit dire. Either I revert to a state of stereotypical bachelorhood and subsist on boxed ramen, cereal, blocks of mediocre cheese, and the more nourishing varieties of beer. Or I decide to splurge and eat only the foods that I love, but that I know Sarah can’t abide: whole crabs, olives, and the occasional piece of steak.
This time, I’m quite proud of myself. Because this time, in Sarah’s absence, I have done neither of those things.
I have decided this weekend that since it is now officially summer, and since I have such deep vegetal resources (what with the CSAs, and the farmer’s markets, and all), I might as well take advantage and consume all the produce I can, in the freshest, simplest, most delicious forms I can manage.
So there have been peas, shelled and steamed with basmati rice; there have been tomatoes, sliced and drizzled with a spoonful of syrupy balsamic vinegar; and there has been this week’s experiment: zucchini cakes.
One of these things, you say, is not like the others. Zucchini cakes may be delicious, but they themselves are a food of desperation, born of overzealous plants that produce buckets of baseball bats that end up in the compost when we tire of running the summer-squash gauntlet, and when the neighbors lose patience with cucurbit “gifts” left on their doorsteps at night.
But those zucchini — seasoned with inundation, over-familiarity, and contempt — are the late-season crop. Right now, zucchini has just begun. Its consumption is a happygolucky affair, like a conversation with a new and interesting friend. And zucchini cakes still feel like a novel delight.
If you’re looking for healthy, I would warn you that these are not exactly that. Beyond a concentrated dose of vegetable matter, they’re full of flour to hold them together, and they’re pan-fried to a foreboding golden brown.
But at least it’s whole wheat flour, right? And at least they’re fried in olive oil.
It’s not as though you come here for healthy cooking tips, anyway. You know me better than that. Regardless of their caloric content or their carb count, these zucchini cakes are delectable. They’re perfect for elaborate breakfast or simple dinner. And I would recommend them highly, and without reservation.
1 Medium Zucchini
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Large Egg, beaten
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
In your food processor, or with the coarsest side of a cheese grater, shred the zucchini and onion. To a medium bowl, add the vegetables, flour, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper, and mix well. Then add the beaten egg, and continue to mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly integrated.
Heat a skillet over a medium flame. Add your olive oil, and when it is shimmering hot, form small handfuls of the zucchini mixture into cakes, and gently slide them into the skillet. You should be able to make about five in total, which is enough that you may have to cook them in shifts.
Cook the zucchini cakes for 4-5 minutes on each side — until they have gone just past golden brown and are starting to develop some dark spots. Then remove to a paper-towel lined plate, allow them to drain for just a minute, and serve hot, accompanied by sour cream, applesauce or (in my case) a side of fresh blueberries.