Recipe: Root Vegetable Pancakes

root-veg-pancakesThese savory pancakes are absolutely delicious and easy to make.  They would please any vegetarian and are also wonderful as an accompaniment to some sort of protein. The inclusion of a little maple syrup and nut oil enriches the earthy flavors in a subtle way. I serve them with grilled salmon, which works well. The recipe was inspired by one from the chef of New York’s Union Square Cafe, but I removed 3/4 of the (unnecessary) fat and simplified the recipe.The chef, Michael Romano, uses sunchokes but I like a mixture of celery root and carrot.

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 ½ pounds root vegetables* scrubbed, peeled (if necessary) and trimmed

(optional) 1 small onion*, peeled and quartered

1 large egg (or egg substitute)

1 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoons walnut or hazelnut oil (best: French or La Tourangelle brand, available in better markets like Whole Foods and Draeger’s)

3/4 teaspoons salt

a little freshly ground black pepper

(optional) cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup (or a little more) all-purpose flour

1 T butter + 1 T olive oil for cooking (or use all oil)

*the original recipe called for Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes), which are good.However, the pancakes can be made with any complementary mixture of root vegetables.I highly recommend celery root with a carrot or two.Other possibilities: mixtures of parsnips, rutabagas, parsley root, turnips (but not too much since they’re pungent), jicama, yams/sweet potatoes, etc.Look for complementary colors as well as flavors in your choice.If you use particularly “wet” vegetables, strain out as much liquid as possible after shredding or your pancakes will be soggy.

I left out the onion and the recipe was fine.

Instructions:

1. Grate onions (if using) and root vegetables in food processor with shredder attachment (this is the fastest & best way) or by hand on box grater. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Crack egg into a small bowl. Add maple syrup, nut oil, salt, peppers
and nutmeg. Whisk together and pour onto grated vegetables. Mix lightly. Sprinkle flour over surface and mix lightly. If needed, add a little more flour to help “stick” the pancakes. Form into 3-inch (or larger) pancakes about 1/2-inch thick on a plate, then slide onto tray or put directly into cooking pan after forming.

3. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet or griddle, heat the vegetable oil
and butter over medium heat. Add the pancakes, leaving enough space to flip them over. Cook them until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes a side. If pancakes brown too quickly, lower heat to cook them through. If skillet or griddle becomes dry, add more oil.

4. Remove pancakes to paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Cover finished pancakes loosely with foil, and hold in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Yield: 4-6 servings


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