Zucchini Latkes With Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Basil Recipe

Shredded zucchini and the bright, herbal flavors of pesto make a refreshingly light, spring-y variation on the typical potato latke.

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Zucchini latkes get a pesto-inspired twist with lemon zest, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, and basil. Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Squeezing the patty mixture in cheesecloth helps eliminate excess moisture, making the results more consistent and helping the latkes brown more efficiently.
  • Shredding the ingredients in a food processor ensures a hearty, consistent size and shape for the latkes.

Zucchini makes a great base for tender and refreshingly light latkes, but it also has a very delicate flavor that can easily be overwhelmed. Chopped basil and lemon zest help that light, grassy quality shine, while pine nuts and Parmesan cheese give the latkes a pesto-inspired twist.

Recipe Facts

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Active: 60 mins
Total: 60 mins
Makes: 24 latkes

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) zucchini, trimmed and shredded on the shredding disk of a food processor (6 cups shredded)
  • 1 pound (450g) russet potatoes, peeled, trimmed, and shredded on the shredding disk of a food processor (3 cups shredded)
  • 4 1/2 cups chopped onion (approximately 5 medium onions)
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup matzo meal, plus more as needed (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon (12g) kosher salt, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more if needed
  • Canola or peanut oil, for frying
  • Unsweetened applesauce and sour cream, for serving

Directions

  1. Working in roughly 2-cup batches, wrap zucchini, potato, and onion in cheesecloth that has been folded over twice. Tie corners around the handle of a wooden spoon and twist bundle until liquid flows out and vegetables are dry. Add squeezed vegetables to a large mixing bowl and toss to combine thoroughly.

  2. Add Parmesan, basil, lemon zest, and pine nuts and stir to combine. Mix in eggs and matzo meal. You should be able to form patties that just stick together in your hands; if the mixture is too wet, add more matzo meal, 1 tablespoon at a time, until patties can be properly formed. Stir in salt and pepper.

  3. Heat 1/2 inch oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until a shred of potato immediately bubbles when dropped in. Form a small amount of latke mixture into a disk and fry on both sides until golden brown to test for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

  4. Form patties about 3 inches wide and 1 inch thick in the center and slide into pan (no more than 4 at a time). Fry until a golden-brown crust forms on bottom, then flip using a slotted spatula and fork and fry until golden brown on other side and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes per side. If a darker crust is desired, continue cooking on each side to desired doneness.

  5. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels and let cool for 2 minutes. Serve with applesauce and sour cream at the table.

Special equipment

Cast iron skillet, food processor, cheesecloth, rimmed baking sheet

Notes

The exact amount of matzo meal needed will depend on how moist your vegetables are. Start with the suggested amount, then add more if needed, working in 1-tablespoon increments, until you can form patties that stick together in your hands.

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