Squash and Corn Pancakes

23 Comments

I happen to love savory pancakes. By that, I mean potato pancakes, wild rice pancakes, and vegetable pancakes like a sweet potato pancake.

This recipe would classify under vegetable pancakes, made from seasonal vegetables. Most of us who have a garden have an overabundance of one of two vegetables at least for a few weeks or longer at one point during the summer. For me, it’s been summer squash.

I recently made a soup from a combination of summer squash and fresh corn, flavored with coconut oil, curry powder, and hot sauce. It was so good I want to continue this vegetable combo, and so I decided to make these pancakes.

The fun thing about making savory pancakes is that you can create the recipe as you go along. Just about anything works. But I settled on summer squash, zucchini, purple onion, walnuts, and cilantro.

It’s really all about making the batter light enough to not make the pancakes doughy, but also holding everything together. So here’s what I did.

Summer Savory Pancakes

2 large ears corn
2 medium summer squash
2 medium zucchini
1 small purple onion, finely chopped
1 cup walnut halves, chopped
1 bunch cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
Black pepper
3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream, evaporated milk, coconut milk, almond milk, etc.
Approximately 1 cup white flour, or any flour
Butter or olive oil

Cook the corn for 7-8 minutes in boiling water, then drain. Let them cool
squash2
Grate the squashes and place them in a large bowl.
squash3
Then add the onion and walnuts
squash4
Slice off the corn kernels and add them to the bowl, along with the cilantro and the seasoning.
squash5
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream, and pour the mixture over the vegetables. Stir to combine.
squash6
Add a little at a time, begin incorporating the flour into the vegetable mixture until no liquid remains. Stop then. These are vegetable pancakes, not doughy pancakes with a little bit of squash thrown in. There’s a difference.
squash7
By the way, any flour works with these pancakes. Gluten is not a necessary factor in making these pancakes cook, so if you prefer barley flour, go for it. Whole wheat flour works as well as any whole-grain flour, if you prefer.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Form two 4″ wide pancakes and smooth them as much as possible. Let them cook for about 1 minute, so they get nice and golden brown.
squash9

Then turn the pancakes over. Immediately cover the pan and lower the heat as much as possible, so they brown on the other side, but also cook though. You don’t want the insides uncooked.

I have a gas stove. On an electric stove, I would just take the skillet off of that burner to let the inside heat cook the pancakes through.
squash8
After about two minutes, place the pancakes on a serving tray, add a little more oil, and continue with the rest of the batter. This recipe made 14 pancakes.

squash1

These are best served warm. They’re crisp on the outside and the walnuts add a bit of crunch. The pancakes make a very good side dish with any kind of meat or fish, but they’re also good served with a tomato salad for a light lunch.

squash22

note: One thing I like about making pancakes like these, is that no pre-preparation is required. Except for cooking the corn some, but that doesn’t take long. I’ve seen similar recipes out there in the blogosphere, sometimes called fritters instead of pancakes, where the onions are sautéed, and the squash is prepped to remove its water. Unless you really don’t like the flavor of fresh onion or shallots, then I can see only using them sautéed, but it seems silly to me. And as far as the water in the squash, I just use it to my favor. The wetness of the squash just means I don’t have to add that much liquid to the bowl of vegetables. They don’t have to be squeezed and dried first. Just FYI!

Gratin Fun

24 Comments

Can you have fun creating a gratin? Absolutely yes! Because there are no rules. It’s just a matter of using what you have on hand.

We all know and love rich, creamy potato gratins, but during the summer months, it’s fun and easy to create your own customized gratin using your garden vegetables or those from a farmer’s market. And because summer veggies are more watery than potatoes, no cream is required.

A gratin isn’t absolutely necessary, but sometimes you get tired of roasting and grilling and steaming. A gratin just provides a slightly fancier layered dish that is delicious. Plus you can add cheese, so it’s definitely a different kind of win-win vegetable dish.

Today I had a lot of summer squash and zucchini, so that’s what made me decide to make a gratin. This gratin is not seasoned to speak of, because I served it with some grilled chicken breasts topped with my home-made pesto (which contains no cheese). So I left things simple so the wonderful ripe vegetables could shine. Here you go…

squash3

Squash Gratin

Squash, sliced thinly with a mandolin
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 ounces sliced pancetta
6 ounces grated cheese of choice, I used pecorino
Salt and Pepper

Choose a dish, preferably a relatively deep baking dish. It can be square or round, it doesn’t matter. Then pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Begin adding the zucchini and summer squash rounds to the dish in a layer. Season with salt and pepper.

squash5

Then add the slices of one tomato. Season with salt and pepper again. Add some of the grated cheese. In my case, I just happened to have some buffalo mozzarella left over, so I used that. Anything that melts well and will help hold the layers together will work.

squash4

Continue with the remaining zucchini and squash, and tomato slices. Then top everything with the pancetta. Pancetta is completely unnecessary, but I thought would add some nice flavor to the vegetables.

squash2

Then top with the remaining cheese.

squash1

Bake the dish covered with foil for 45 minutes. Then remove the foil and continue baking for about 15 minutes. It should look like this:

squash

Now, there will be water in the bottom of the baking dish from the vegetables. You can either let everything cool and then carefully pour off the water, or, use a baster like you would use for your turkey, and remove the water from around the edges and discard. This is just inevitable because of the amount of water that is in vegetables. But this is also why no cream is required to make this kind of gratin!

Because of the water issue, your gratin will shrink, as well. So when you make it, try to get it to the top of the baking dish as much as you can. If you’re concerned about overflow, place the baking dish on a cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan first.

To serve this gratin, you can dish it out with a spoon like my husband did when I wasn’t looking, or slice it into pretty wedges.

gratin1

So hopefully I’ve inspired you to make your own vegetable gratin. You can layer the vegetable slices with sautéed onion rings for more flavor if you wish, and of course you can season with herbs of choice. You could even brush individual layers with pesto, and dot them with sun-dried tomatoes! It really doesn’t matter what you do – trust me, it will work!