Photo by Judith Hausman
Potato pancakes with horseradish are a yearly tradition, and Korean-style scallion pancakes, brushed with sesame oil, are a restaurant favorite. Recently, I fooled around and came up with broccoli di rabe pancakes, which turned out great. We had ruthlessly harvested most of our second crop of this sturdy bitter green, and I had trimmed and cooked a huge potful with garlic and olive oil to get the mess of greens down to a manageable amount.
In cooler weather, I’d add sausages and maybe potatoes to the broccoli di rabe, but I was looking for a really fast vegetarian dinner. The pancakes would actually make a pretty good barbecue side dish, too. I began with the recipe for savory Bisquick-based zucchini pancakes I’ve made many times. I know — a mix? But it’s summer, and pancake mix made this fast. Whole-wheat versions exist, or you can add a little cornmeal to the batter for character.
The trick with the broccoli di rabe pancakes, whether grated summer squash or greens, is to press out extra liquid well so the cooked vegetables are quite dry. I dried this batch out in the cooking and also chopped it further before adding it to the batter. If the resulting batter is just too dry or thick, thin it with a little milk. That won’t hurt a thing.
I kept this experiment simple, using some Parmesan in the batter and serving the hotcakes off the griddle with a smear of fresh goat cheese. You could certainly try other cheeses (Blue? Asiago? More Parmesan?) and add, say, half a diced hot pepper or some red pepper flakes or oregano. I’d like to try the broccoli di rabe pancakes with sautéed onions and mushrooms with fresh herbs, too. Chopped basil or mint are perfect with the delicately- flavored squash version.
In this season, a tomato salad seemed the obvious accompaniment.
Broccoli di Rabe Pancakes
- 1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
- 1 cup Bisquick, pancake mix or other baking mix
- 2 cups cooked, well-drained and chopped broccoli di rabe (add a minced garlic clove if you have not cooked the greens with garlic)
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons minced onion
- salt and pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients well, thinning the mix further with a little milk if necessary. Heat a griddle or fry pan and coat with a thin layer of olive oil. Spoon the batter onto the hot griddle, forming pancakes about 4 inches across. When the surface bubbles, turn the pancakes. Add and heat more oil as often as necessary for the rest. Serve with goat cheese or other cheese.
Yields about a dozen pancakes.