Zucchini and Potato Torta

It's officially taken me weeks to finish up with posting my recipes for my latest get together with the neighbors. I've been so busy with school. This past week was our last week of classes, and now next week is finals week. Then it's summertime...no more work until August! Yeah, right...it's thesis writing time for me!

This is the final recipe that I made for my friends. It's derived from Giada de Laurentiis' Crispy Zucchini and Potato Pancake. What I love about this is that zucchini are used to add a light flavor to what might otherwise be a hefty appetizer. Shredded zucchini and potatoes are combined and then browned into a pancake. I took some creative liberties on the name because it sounded much more elegant than the original. I used thyme instead of rosemary just because it was what I had on hand, and I also nixed the mascarpone cheese. I couldn't find it at the store, and I can't imagine it being necessary because these were good on their own. In retrospect, I think I would have served this cut but kept in its original shape instead of spreading out each piece as Giada did. I just think it looks more impressive to see the whole pancake (or torta, whatever you want to call it) together.

Zucchini and Potato Torta
Printable Recipe

2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and grated (use a food processor so it's quick)
2 medium zucchini, grated (again, food processor)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 c + 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c seasoned bread crumbs
2 tbsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
non-stick cooking spray

1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet or pizza pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside
2. Lay the grated potatoes and zucchini on 2 clean kitchen towels. Bring the corners of the towels together and squeeze out the moisture from the vegetables. Place the vegetables in a large bowl. Add the garlic, thyme, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, egg whites, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
3. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the vegetable mixture to the pan. Using a spatula, press the mixture evenly into the pan. Drizzle the top with olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Cook for 8 minutes or until the edges of the mixture begin to brown. Shake the pan to make sure the pancake is loose, then slide the pancake, cooked side down, onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top of the pancake starts to brown and the edges are crispy.
5. Cut the pancake into 1 1/2-inch squares and arrange on a serving platter.Or, place the whole thing on a cutting board and then cut without arranging. Garnish with fresh herbs, such as parsley.

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