Recipes: The Flip Side of Flapjacks

story by joy manningThe csa box or farmers market haul delivers a thrilling source of kitchen inspiration—in June. By now, though, your cravings have probably taken on an autumnal tinge, and those big salads and grilled vegetables seem so very last month. But you can bring new life to the late summer and early fall harvest with a little culinary creativity. Almost any vegetable, no matter how many times you’ve already cooked it this year, can feel new again when you take a different tack. Enter pancakes: Savory versions of that infinitely accommodating breakfast staple are just as satisfying around the dinner table. They make a terrific vegetarian main course served on a bed of mixed greens, as well as a side dish for simply grilled or roasted meat or fish.

Kale, Zucchini and Romano Pancakes with Whipped Ricotta

For the whipped ricotta

1/2   cup ricotta cheese
1      Tbsp. olive oil
     Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture is perfectly smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the pancakes
2     Tbsp. olive oil, plus more to grease the griddle
1     tsp. hot chili flakes, or to taste
1     medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1     small head Tuscan kale, stems trimmed, ribs removed & minced, leaves shredded, ribs & leaves separated
2     garlic cloves, minced
1     small zucchini, shredded, (about 3 cups) excess moisture squeezed out with a clean dishcloth
1     large egg, beaten
1/2     cup ricotta cheese
1/4     cup garbanzo flour (all-purpose may be substituted)
1/2     cup grated Romano cheese
    Salt and black pepper
    Basil leaves, optional

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the olive oil, chili flakes, onion and kale ribs, and cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the kale leaves and cook until just wilted. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Allow the vegetables to cool.

Preheat an electric skillet to 400 degrees (or set your large skillet over medium-high heat). Combine the egg and ricotta and pour over the cooled vegetables, stirring to combine. Add the shredded zucchini, flour and Romano cheese, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.

Spoon the batter onto the hot, greased griddle 1/4 cup at a time, and cook until the pancakes set up around the edges and have browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip, and cook on the other side until brown, about 2 minutes more. Serve topped with the whipped ricotta and torn basil leaves, if desired.

Curried Cauliflower, Jalapeño and Rice Pancakes with Raita
makes 12 pancakes

For the raita
1/2     cup Greek yogurt
1     clove garlic
1/2     cup diced cucumber
1     Tbsp. olive oil
2     Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1     Tbsp. chopped mint
    Salt, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and let stand one hour before serving. This may be made ahead—refrigerate until ready to use.

For the pancakes
1 1/2     cups long-grain white rice
1/2     cup red lentils
1/2     head cauliflower, broken down into florets (about 2 cups)
1     Tbsp. curry powder
1     Tbsp. coconut oil
1     tsp. salt
1/4     cup plain Greek yogurt
1     medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
3     jalapeño chilies, stemmed, finely chopped (and seeded, if you don’t like the heat)
1/4     cup chopped cilantro

The night before: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the rice and red lentils, and cover with water by several inches. Let stand overnight.

Toss the cauliflower with the curry powder and coconut oil, and season liberally with salt. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Roast until the cauliflower is tender and golden, about 25 minutes. Chop the cauliflower into roughly ¼-inch pieces, transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate.

In the morning, drain the rice and lentils and purée them with 1 cup fresh water in a food processor to make a batter. Transfer to a bowl, cover loosely with a towel and let stand for another 8-12 hours.

Preheat an electric griddle to 375 degrees, or set a large skillet over medium heat. Add the salt, yogurt, baking soda, grated onion, jalapeño, cilantro and reserved minced cauliflower to the rice-lentil batter, and stir to combine.  Grease the griddle with coconut oil, and pour the batter onto the griddle 1/4 cup at a time. Cook until brown at the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes, then flip and cook on the other side about 3 to 5 minutes more. Serve with raita.

Mushroom, Leek and Tarragon Pancakes with Blue Cheese Butter

makes 6 pancakes

For the blue cheese butter
1/4     cup softened blue cheese
1/4     cup (4 Tbsp.) softened unsalted butter
1     small shallot, grated
1     Tbsp. Champagne vinegar or
white wine vinegar
1/4     tsp. black pepper
1/3     cup tarragon, minced

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Spoon the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll tightly into a log. Chill until firm and ready to serve.

For the pancakes
2     Tbsp. butter, plus more for
greasing the griddle
2     medium leeks, white parts only, halved, washed and sliced thinly (about 2 cups)
1     pound mushrooms (any variety—I used cremini and shiitake), sliced thin (about 5 cups)
2     Tbsp. dry sherry
1     large egg, beaten
1/4     cup buttermilk
1/4     cup all-purpose flour
1/4     tsp. baking powder
2     Tbsp. minced fresh tarragon
    Salt and pepper

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and cook until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until they exude their liquid, the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown, about 15 minutes more. Transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl and cool.   

Preheat an electric griddle to 400 degrees (or set your large skillet over medium-high heat).
Combine the egg and buttermilk and pour over the cooled vegetables, stirring to combine. Add the flour, baking powder and tarragon, and stir to combine.

Spoon the batter onto the hot, buttered griddle 1/4 cup at a time and cook until the pancakes set up around the edges and have browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip, and cook on the other side until brown, about 2 minutes more. Top with a pat of blue cheese butter, and serve.

Joy Manning is a food writer and magazine editor; she blogs at oysterevangelist.com.