Some people have way too much fun; the Brits, for example. On Shrove Tuesday, all over the UK, women will don their best aprons, whip up their favourite pancakes, and race down the street flipping flapjacks in hot skillets. This has been going on for years, and is likely to continue—in spite of the fact that they no longer want to share with the rest of Europe.
It all started in 1445. In those days, people tended to take Lent very seriously. So they had a problem, which was to rid the house of sugar and fat and eggs. They did this partly to remove the temptation to eat such things and partly because the fat and eggs wouldn’t keep for 40 days. Since Shrove Tuesday is the last day before Lent, it’s the last day to use them up, and pancakes require these ingredients. So Shrove Tuesday became Pan- cake Day. It was also the last day to be shriven, to confess to the priest and be absolved of one’s sins and begin Lent with a clean slate.
Legend has it, while one dutiful housewife in the town of Olney was cooking her pancakes, she heard the shriving bells ringing, reminding her that it was time—her last chance to be shriven. Without pausing to take off her apron, she ran to the church, holding her skillet and flipping the pancake so it wouldn’t burn. To this day, to enter the pancake race in Olney, one must be a local woman wearing an apron and a headscarf or hat. She must hold a frying pan and flip a pancake at least three times as she runs. To win, she must be the first to reach the church with a hot, cooked pancake, feed it to the bell ringer, and be kissed by him. Just in case you’re tempted to run up and down the dock flipping pancakes, I’ve tried out some new ideas. Most of us have our favourite breakfast pancake recipes, all worthy of a kiss or two, but here are some lunch or dinner ideas that may not be as familiar. Carrot or zucchini pancakes are a fun riff on an old standard, and potato pancakes, with or without corn, make delicious accompaniments to all kinds of entrées.
These simple variations on the vegetable theme lend variety to cruising menus without requiring exotic ingredients. Please take them with a grain of salt. As written, the recipes are really good, but I stuck to using only things that you are likely to have onboard or that are easy to find. Feel free to add herbs and spices that you would enjoy.
Makes 12 to 15 small pancakes (about four servings):
- 3 eggs, whisked
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 12–15 grinds of pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
- 6 chopped green onions, including tender part of green stems 1/4 cup panko or other unseasoned bread crumbs
- 3 large carrots, shredded, about
- 2 cups, lightly packed
- Add the salt and pepper to the eggs, whisk, then mix in the other ingredients.
- Let stand a few minutes to allow the panko to bind.
- Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle to medium heat and coat with unsalted butter or olive oil.
- Use a heaping tablespoon of carrot mixture for each pancake. Spread it as thinly as possible and cook until brown (approx. three min) on each side.
- Keep warm in warm oven (95°C or 200°F) or on pan over simmering water and serve as soon as possible.
In the recipe above, substitute zucchini for the carrots and garlic for the ginger.
It is important to squeeze the water out of the zucchini before mixing. The simplest thing to do is spread the grated zucchini on about three layers of paper towels and roll it up like a jelly roll. Let it stand for 30 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure that the towels are adequate to absorb all the moisture. This will result in crisp, dry shredded zucchini.
These are so good that i like to make lots. They’re yummy cold or gently reheated (oven at 95°C or 200°F for 10 minutes.)
Soy-Vinegar Dipping Sauce
Good with either carrot or zucchini pancakes.
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dry white wine
- a few grinds of pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon to 1/2 tablespoon
- minced ginger
There are probably a million ways to make potato pancakes. This is a very basic start, and all kinds of variations, depending on what you have at hand, are possible.
Note: Packaged shredded potatoes work well, but if making shredded potato pancakes from scratch, cook the potatoes (preferably russets) ahead of time until they are not quite done. Chill them, and then grate them, using the large holes in a box grater.
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 25 grinds pepper
- 8 green onions, sliced, including
- tender green parts
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup grated medium cheddar cheese
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2–2.5 cups shredded potatoes
- Substitute Swiss, gouda or smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, or other preferred cheese.
- add 1/2 cup (or more) sautéed leeks.
- add minced garlic or roasted garlic to taste.
- Garnish with sour cream, chives, chopped bacon.
Corn and Potato Pancakes
- 1/2 cup corn—canned, frozen, or leftover and cut off cob
- Reduce potatoes to two cups
Mashed Potato Pancakes
Substitute mashed for shredded potatoes.
Reduce the salt to a pinch.
Depending on the consistency of the mashed potatoes, you may have to adjust the liquid in the recipe. if the mixture looks too wet, add flour, a tablespoon at a time until it looks stiff enough to hold together. if too dry, add an egg or a little sour cream, milk, or buttermilk.
Follow the directions in the carrot pancake recipe. The potato pancakes will be a little thicker, especially the ones made with mashed potatoes. Some people like to dredge the mashed potato cakes in flour just before frying them, to give them a crisp crust. enjoy!