By Roberta Bailey
Pancakes – they’re not just for breakfast any more. They haven’t been for centuries, but lately most of us seem to think of pancakes as synonymous with blueberries and maple syrup. Pancakes in one form or another are a part of every culture, including scallion pancakes or pa jun in Korea, German potato pancakes, Jewish potato latkes, Sephardic bimuelos, and Scandinavian pancakes in many forms – and so many more.
Why not spread the fun throughout the day? Live a little. Savory pancakes for dinner are all the rage (as a March 28, 2007 story in The New York Times indicates). Mix up a basic batter, add savory spices and grate or chop in some vegetables or cheese, and you are out of your “what to make for dinner?” rut.
Greek Zucchini Pancakes
6 zucchini, shredded
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 lb. Feta cheese
1 tsp. minced fresh mint (or 3/4 tsp. dried)
3 to 6 Tbsp. flour
Pepper to taste
Mix shredded zucchini with salt, cover, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Squeeze out the moisture. Beat the eggs, stir in the zucchini, cheese, mint, flour and pepper. Cook on a greased griddle or frying pan like pancakes.
Winter Squash Pancakes
2 cups cold, cooked and mashed winter squash
1/2 cup flour (approximately)
1 egg separated, the white beaten until stiff but not dry
1 medium onion (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 to 1 tsp. salt
Milk, cream or soy milk as needed
Blend flour, onion and mashed squash. Add the egg yolk and salt and curry powder. Stir together. Fold in the beaten egg white. Add liquid if the batter is too thick to make a light, thin pancake. Fry in a hot pan with vegetable oil until golden on both sides.
Korean-Style Vegetable Pancake
Adapted from a New York Times (March 28, 2007) recipe.
2 1/4 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
6 scallions, slivers of green tops
15 to 20 leaves of chives (or more scallion tops), chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
1 small summer squash or zucchini, grated
1/3 to 1/2 lb. chopped Maine shrimp (optional)
7 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. sugar or 1/2 tsp. honey
In a medium bowl, mix flour, beaten eggs and oil with the water or broth until smooth. Add scallions, chives, grated vegetables and shrimp. Adjust liquid so that batter isn’t too thick.
In a cast iron or nonstick griddle or large frying pan, cook cakes until they’re golden on both sides.
In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, tamari, and sweetener. Cut pancakes into small wedges and serve with dipping sauce.
These are delicious as a sweet dish or as a savory side dish. Try adding finely diced green pepper or some fresh herbs.
2 1/2 cups fresh corn
1 well-beaten egg
1 Tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
Whip until stiff but not dry:
1 egg white
Fold the egg white into the corn mixture. Into a hot buttered skillet, drop the mixture as for pancakes. Cook until light golden brown and fluffy. Do not overcook. Serves 3 to 4.
1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
6 eggs, beaten
3 cups milk, soymilk or broth
3 Tbsp. melted butter or vegetable oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Oil or butter for the pan
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in the beaten eggs. Add the milk or broth slowly, whisking it in, then add the butter or oil and Parmesan. The batter should be very smooth and the consistency of cream. Let it stand at least an hour or two before making the crepes.
To make crepes heat a crepe pan or small frying pan and melt some butter or oil in it. When the pan is almost smoking, pour in 2 to 3 Tbsp. of batter at a time, swirling it around to the edges immediately. Cook for about a minute on each side. Grease the pan a bit between each crepe to avoid sticking. Makes 20 to 24 crepes. Serve with savory fillings.
Read Roberta Bailey’s Harvest Kitchen recipe columns from previous issues: