Ina Garten is one food celebrity I am not very familiar with. I have seen her on foodtv, but that is really about all. I don’t own a single one of her cookbooks — she has seven. When Phyl suggested her as our chef for July I saw it as a way to explore a different type of recipe.

Ina is The Barefoot Contessa and has had an interesting career before embracing her love of fresh food and becomming the owner in 1978 of the The BareFoot Contessa, a shop whose name she did not change (named for an Ava Gardner film). She claims she is a self-taught cook but she has had some fantastic mentors.

Exploring her recipes was fun. It was difficult to find just one. In the end, I chose one that used veggies from my garden and was quick and easy.

      Zucchini Pancakes


    2 medium zucchini (about ¾ pound)
    2 tablespoons grated red onion {I used yellow only because I was out of red.}
    2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
    6 to 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Unsalted butter and vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Grate the zucchini into a bowl using the large grating side of a box grater. Immediately stir in the onion and eggs. Stir in 6 tablespoons of the flour, the baking powder, salt, and pepper. (If the batter gets too thin from the liquid in the zucchini, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.)

Heat a large (10 to 12-inch) sauté pan over medium heat and melt ½ tablespoon butter and ½ tablespoon oil together in the pan. When the butter is hot but not smoking, lower the heat to medium-low and drop heaping soup spoons of batter into the pan. Cook the pancakes about 2 minutes on each side, until browned. Place the pancakes on a sheet pan and keep warm in the oven. Wipe out the pan with a dry paper towel, add more butter and oil to the pan, and continue to fry the pancakes until all the batter is used. The pancakes can stay warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot. {They are also good cold!! if you get a snack attack at 3 in the morning!! or warmed in a skillet with some browned butter for breakfast. Just sayin’.}

Can I tell you how good these were??

There is just enough seasoning to bring out the zucchini flavor. And the ease of making them means they are a quick side dish for any night of the week. While the batter is very liquidy, it doesn’t spread much and firms up nicely in the skillet and are easy to flip. The recipe says 10 pancakes but it depends on the size of the spoon you use. You could easily make the larger, or smaller.

Next time I make them I might try sweating the onions a little to soften them. The pancakes cook very quickly and it really doesn’t give the onions time to soften.

Thanks, aka Phyl, for introducing me to another chef.