These pancakes are a riff on the classic zucchini pancakes I ate growing up when our vegetable garden yielded about nine hundred more zucchini than we could realistically use in a given week. These are best served hot, right out of the pan, but I must confess, I have been caught in front of the fridge, eating them cold right out of my hand . . . —Oops! Were you gonna eat that?
about 15 pancakes
Bunch of asparagus (about 10 spears), woody ends removed
Zest of half a lemon
Cracked black pepper
Whole milk ricotta
Packed basil leaves, torn into bite size pieces
Preheat oven to 200 F and place a cooling rack inside a baking sheet.
Line a colander or sieve with cheesecloth and place inside a large mixing bowl.
Using the grating disk of your food processor, shred the zucchini, asparagus and shallot. Note: I have never tried this with a box grater or mandolin, the asparagus might be quite difficult to grate by hand thinly enough so that it cooks completely in the pancake.
Place the grated vegetables in the cheesecloth-lined colander set inside the mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the teaspoon of salt and let drain for 30 minutes (don't skip this or your batter will be too loose and watery). After 30 minutes, give the vegetables a good squeeze inside the cheesecloth to expell any extra liquid.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetables, lemon zest, a few good grinds of black pepper, the ricotta, egg, basil and chives. Mix thoroughly.
Sprinkle the flour and baking soda into the batter and stir just to combine (an additional TBS or two of flour can be added if the batter is at all runny).
Heat a small amount of canola oil in a nonstick pan, or griddle over medium high heat. When the pan is warm, drop and spread the batter into fairly thin pancakes (I use about 2 TBS of batter per pancake, which yields roughly 15 pancakes total).
Cook each pancake about 3-4 minutes per side - you want a nice golden brown color on each side.
As you finish each pancake, serve immediately, or place on the cooling rack/baking sheet inside the warm oven. These are great drizzled with a little basil oil or with a dollop of herbed fresh ricotta.