Summer Vegetable Pancakes with Basil Chive Cream

Adapted from Gourmet, August 2002

While the original recipe uses just zucchini, and that is a delicious way to make these too, I like to use a combination of zucchini, yellow squash, and carrot when they're all in season. I make mine roughly 1/4 cup-size, versus the tiny appetizer-sized pancakes suggested in the original recipe. They're delicious for a light main course with a salad or other sides, or as a first course before the main event. And one last note: the basil-chive cream is so, so good over pretty much any vegetable!

Ingredients

For basil chive cream
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

For pancakes
3 cups coarsely grated summer squash - mixture of yellow summer squash and zucchini
1 cup coarsely grated carrots
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour [I've used white whole wheat flour successfully]
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 large egg whites
olive oil or canola oil

sea salt

Directions

Make basil chive cream:
In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, blitz together the sour cream, basil, chives, and salt until smooth and pale green. Chill under you're ready to serve.

Make pancakes:
Place a large colander in your sink. Put the zucchini and yellow squash shreds in the colander and toss with the 1 1/4 teaspoons salt. Let the squash stand at room temperature 20 minutes in the colander, then take handfuls at a time and squeeze them firmly to wring out as much liquid as possible. (If you'd rather, you can put handfuls of it on a kitchen towel or paper towel and firmly blot it dry, but I find the hand method is most effective.) You really want to be sure you get as much water out as you can, otherwise they won't cook properly. Transfer the drained squash to a large bowl and stir in the 1 cup of shredded carrots, flour, sugar, and pepper.

Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they just hold stiff peaks. Gently fold them  into the vegetable mixture.

Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a nonstick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Work in batches of 3, and scoop about 1/4 cup batter per pancake into the skillet, flattening and smoothing each slightly with the back of a spoon. Cook the pancakes until golden brown on both sides, flipping halfway through. Transfer the cooked pancakes to paper towels while you cook the next batch. When you're done, sprinkle all the warm pancakes with a little sea salt.

Serve drizzled with some basil chive cream.

Makes 6 medium pancakes, enough for a light dinner for 2 with a salad or other sides.