Got zucchini? Serve up a savory pancake that uses both the squash and its flower.
One of my favorite appetizers at the little Korean restaurant in my neighborhood is pa jeon. This Korean-style pancake isn’t a thin, delicate crêpe, nor is it your average fluffy breakfast mainstay. No, these are denser creatures with a mild batter, which makes them the perfect vehicles for mix-ins that pack a flavorful punch (I have a particular weakness for the kimchi pa jeon, but you may be more familiar with seafood or scallion versions.). Pan-fried to a light golden brown, sliced into wedges, and served piping hot with a spicy dipping sauce of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and chili flakes, these simple, easy-to-make pancakes are a delicious savory appetizer to share (if your fellow diners are lucky).
In this season of zucchini abundance, make use of both the squash and the squash blossom (as well as that bunch of basil you have hanging around your kitchen just waiting to become pesto) with this take on the Korean pancake. Mix up a small bowl of dipping sauce and enjoy!
Zucchini Pancakes with Blossoms and Basil
Yield: 2–4 servings or 6–8 appetizer servings
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup water
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup grated green zucchini, from 1 medium zucchini (about ½ pound)
- ¼ cup packed fresh basil, very thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 zucchini blossoms
- Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Add the water and egg, and whisk until just combined. Add the zucchini and basil, and stir together gently with a spoon.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small (8- or 9-inch) nonstick pan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add about half the batter (1 heaping cup) and spread it evenly into the pan. Cook until browned on the bottom side, 4 to 5 minutes.
- While the pancake cooks, break two of the zucchini blossoms apart into distinct petals. Place the petals in a flower pattern on the raw side of the batter, then flip the pancake over with a large spatula. Cook until puffed and evenly browned, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
- Serve the pancakes piping hot, cut into eight pieces each.
Note: You can reheat the pancakes in the microwave or on the stovetop, but they’re best fresh from the pan.