As I was working up a recipe for butternut squash, I recalled my trip to Japan, where I fell in love with a savory cabbage pancake called okonomiyaki. "Okonomi" means "as you like it" or "your style." In Japan the savory cakes contained shredded cabbage and other vegetables, barely held together in a batter, and often bits of meat or fish, whatever one wished. The batter is fried, a dollop at a time, much like a latke. The recipe is flexible and forgiving: you adjust the amounts of vegetables and batter to suit each other and your own taste. This riff on okonomiyaki uses pureed roasted butternut squash to flavor the batter, and red cabbage instead of green. I added grated carrots, bacon and fresh ginger. I serve this with rice wine vinegar and soy sauce, but plain yogurt would also be delicious --- or your own way! —calendargirl
more or less, chunks of butternut squash (ca.1-2 inch cubes)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the butternut pieces on a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss so that the pieces are evenly oiled and roast, turning a few times, until the chunks are soft and their edges are beginning to carmelize --- about 35 minutes, depending on your oven.
While the squash is roasting, saute the bacon until it is cooked but not crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towel and set aside. Pour off all but about a tablespoon of the bacon fat and in the same frying pan, saute the onion until translucent. Add the ginger and stir for a minute or two more.
When the squash is done, remove it from oven and let it cool to room temperature. Then place it in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth.
In a large bowl combine the egg, milk and flour. Add the pureed squash and whisk thoroughly. Next whisk in the molasses and brown sugar.
Add the cabbage, carrot, onions, bacon and ginger and mix to coat them well. You may have to add a bit more flour or milk, depending on the amount of your dry ingredients. You want the batter to just hold together.
Heat a heavy frying pan and cover the bottom with canola oil. Drop a large spoonful of the batter into the pan and fry for about three or four minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Lift with a large flexible spatula and flip the pancake, pressing it down to flatten slightly and cook for another few minutes.
Repeat the process, keeping pancakes warm in a low oven or eat them as they are ready. Drizzle each pancake with rice vinegar and/or soy sauce, and garnish with sliced scallions.