Carrot and Parsnip Pancakes
I developed the basic recipe for these pancakes when I was preparing an entry in the Paper Chef competition in which one of the ingredients was carrots. The carrot pancakes were the base for a tower of risotto topped with shiraz jelly.
The pancakes were a little overshadowed in that preparation by the risotto and wine jelly, but when preparing the entry I made a few extra of the pancakes and found that they had the stuff to stand alone. Since then I've used them as a side dish several times, changing the flavoring additons each time to suit the menu, with great success. This week I broadened the scope a little to include parsnips as well as carrots and I'm looking forward to trying this basic idea with rutabagas, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes and whatever other subterraneous tubers and roots I can get my hands on.
Root Vegetable Pancakes
About 6 pancakes 4" diameter pancakes.
2 medium carrots or parsnips, peeled and shredded
1 medium onion, sliced thin, slices halved crosswise
2 tsp kalonji (black onion seeds - from Indian market) [see note]
1 tsp ground turmeric [see note]
1 tsp ground coriander [see note]
2 T Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
3/4 C panko flakes
salt, hot sauce to taste
Mix all ingredients well. Correct seasoning. To cook, place a mound of the mix in an oiled skillet over medium heat and flatten it down with an oiled metal spatula to the desired thickness. Cook about 5 or so minutes on a side, until browned. (Note that since the vegetables are uncooked to start you need to avoid browning them too fast or the inside will be uncooked and crunchy, with distracting overtones of uncooked onion.)
Note: the flavorings added to the pancakes can be varied to fit your menu. For example: to accompany a pork roast accented with caraway seeds I replaced the Indian flavoring set with crushed caraway seeds; the pancakes pictured in this post were prepared to accompany pork braised in milk (subject of a future post) so for the carrot cakes I replaced the Indian flavors with sliced garlic and in the parsnip version I used a tablespoon of minced fresh rosemary in their place. Likewise, toppings can be selected to suit your purposes: sour cream never hurt a vegetable-based pancake, and various salsas (like the persimmon-apple salsa used the other day with the avocado mousse) would work, as would a ragout of sautéed apples and onions. The pancakes pictured in this post are topped with little knots of Mushroom Ragoout.