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Bacon Zucchini Potato Pancakes

  A challenge, I like a challenge.  Generally, if I'm scared of doing something, it means that I should just do it.

  You know that adrenaline charge you get when you finally do that thing that once scared the crap out of you?  Yeah, it's good.  However, if that thing is really life-threatening, or involves zucchini, it's a no-go.

  There are some foods that, as a kid, I would just shove around on my plate while I watched everyone else push aside their finished meals and consume dessert.  I was a strangely picky eater.  I hated (and still haven't retried...) tofu, wouldn't consume any kind of soup, and shuddered when my mother put zucchini pie on the table.

  Just one bite, you might like it!  Gooey, cheesy, mushy pie filled with huge slices of bitter zucchini?  Not a chance.

  This is why Sundays with Joy is really good for me.  Once in a while, it will present a challenge.  So far it's usually been just new stuff to try, but this is the first challenge where a disliked food from my past came up.

  I considered passing it by, and just using more potato, I really did!  But what does that make me?  A coward.  A zucchini coward.  So I pulled on my big girl pants and cooked some bacon.  Because if anything can tempt me to swallow zucchini, it's bacon.

  And you know...I liked it.  I had five of these little suckers.  With a mound of sour cream and generous sprinklings of paprika and cumin, it's a lot more than just bearable.  Crisp on the outside, with a cheesy, chewy interior, this dish is all sorts of awesome.

  This is also my first dinner post!  I actually cook quite a bit, and dinner has been served by yours truly on more than one occasion.  But, when you've got four or five hungry faces staring you down, it's hard to get halfway-decent pictures.  In fading daylight, no less.  And when it comes to cooking, I'm hopeless at following or sometimes even using recipes.  So I don't see the point in typing up a recipe with "a dash of this and a bit of that" interspersed thorughout.  All I know is that it gets made, devoured, and, more often than not, praised.  And that's good enough for me.

  Please take note that I've adapted this recipe from Joy the Baker's Cookbook, and threw in what I deemed necessary to help slither grated zucchini down my unwilling throat.

  Get your fork into these fancified hushpuppies!

Bacon Zucchini Potato Pancakes
Yield: about 12-16 pancakes

  • 10 bacon slices (I used turkey, to keep things on the lighter side) 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely-diced yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups grated (and unpeeled) zucchini
  • 2 cups peeled and grated potato
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Sour cream or crème fraîche, for serving

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with tinfoil and lay down the bacon in a single layer.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Place in the oven and cook until crisp and cooked through, about 13-15 minutes (If using turkey bacon keep a watchful eye on the time, as it tends to cook faster.).  Remove to a cutting board and allow to cool.  Lower oven temperature to 200 degrees F.

Place zucchini and potato in a colander over a medium bowl.  Let sit for 10 minutes.

In a medium-sized saute pan over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add onions.  Cook until onion is fragrant and translucent, then add the garlic.  Cook for 1 more minute, then place onions and garlic in a small bowl.  Chop the cooled bacon into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the onions and garlic.

After 10 minutes, press down on the potato and zucchini with a clean towel, squeezing out excess water.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs.  Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Add the cooked onion and bacon mixture, Parmesan, zucchini, and potato and stir until well combined.

In the medium saute pan used to cook the onions, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  When oil is ready, drop the batter in by rounded tablespoonfuls.  Flatten gently into a disk with a fork or the corner of a thin spatula (pancake turner).  Cook for about 2 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly crisped (Note: as the oil gets hotter, it will take less time for the pancakes to cook.  Watch how much they brown, and reduce heat if necessary.).  Flip and cook for another 2 minutes or until golden.  Place the completed pancakes on an oven-safe plate as you cook and keep warm in the 200 degree F oven until ready to serve.

Serve with sour cream or crème fraîche, paprika, and ground cumin.  These are best served immediately, but they can be cooked and kept in an airtight container in the fridge.  Reheat in a lightly greased saute pan the next day.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook