I had me some parsnips, but I wanted pancakes. Like, reeeeeally wanted pancakes. But the parsnips were getting kind of menacing. "Eat us now", they were saying. "You've had pancakes for a few days in a row. Your vegbox will have more of us next week, and you have to keep up!" I've been on a okonomyiaki kick lately, since finding the perfect recipe for them in the Asian Vegan Kitchen cookbook (by the way, I can't say enough good things about this cookbook. It rocks.) Now, having figured out basically how to make *anything* in my veg box into scrumptious and highly addictive japanese/kitchendancing fusion pancake madness, I'm unstoppable.
Unstoppable, yes. But I did pause when I realized that I had taken parsnips, leeks, some soaking shitake mushooms and umeboshi plum paste out of the fridge, plus the requisite greens, (because it's not dinner if it ain't got anything green). Really? I thought. Is this a good idea? OH SWEET JEEBUS YES. This is heaven if you like foods where the flavours strongly contrast but still play nice together. The parsnips are sweet and earthy. The mushrooms pick up the earthy note and run with it, the greens lighten up the dish a bit and the picked plum sour/salty/sharp just skips over the whole thing and somehow ties it together. It also keeps it from being too sweet to eat for dinner. I like sweet and savory together, but at least for main dishes, I"m not a big fan of out-and-out sweet. Try this. You won't be sorry. By the way, you'll need 4 shitake mushrooms soaked in about a cup of water beforehand.
parnsnip rosti/okonomyiaki (makes 2 pan-size pancakes, or 4 smaller ones)
2 large grated parsnips (about 3c. grated parsnip)
1 smallish leek, chopped
1/3 c shittake mushroom stock (just the soaking water from the mushrooms)
2 heaping tbs chopped pickled ginger
1 heaping tablespoon white miso
grind of black pepper
about 2/3c. ww flour mixed with 1 tbs baking powder
Mix all ingredients together. This should be a very thick batter, with the flour just barely present enough to hold the parsnip and leek together. This isn't a pancake batter that you can pour. It's more like rösti with a bit of adhesive. Adjust the liquid/flour if you have to. Fire up a pan (if you have a nonstick, now is the time to use it), spray with oil, and spread/press one pancake of batter into it, smothing it out with the back of a spoon. Cook covered until the bottom is browned, then flip, and cook covered again until the other side is brown. Repeat for pancake number two.
4 rehydrated shitake mushrooms
1/2 cup cooked spinach, chopped (I just used frozen)
2/3 cup shitake stock (ie, the rest of the stock)
1 heaping tbs umeboshi plum paste
Simmer the mushooms in the stock and shoyu. Let it simmer down until there isn't much liquid left. About 2 mins before you want to serve the pancakes, add the cooked spinach into the mushrooms and stir to combine and heat the spinach. When you're ready to serve, stir in the plum paste.
Oddly enough, this is really good with a few spicy dill pickes on the side.
plum-a-riffic music: My favorite plum by Suzanne Vega.