Savory Squash Pancakes with Sage Brown Butter

Ok, ok, I know what you're probably thinking -- SQUASH?! Again?! Not one week ago there was a post for pasta with squash and mushrooms, and before that pumpkin bread, and there's bound to be Thanksgiving recipes -- sure to be pumpkin/squash-filled -- up ahead! Not to mention all these recipes here. There are other ingredients to cook with, Francesca! This blog is practically turning orange! 

While it's no secret that I'm a pumpkin/squash enthusiast in the Fall, this recipe was actually never meant to end up here -- really! There was another dish penciled in for the "Week of Oct 31" Friday slot, a greener and leafier and healthier kale salad. These pancakes came in to being for no other reason than that I had extra squash hanging out in my fridge -- 1 1/2 pounds of it, to be exact -- leftover from my pasta testings. It needed eating, and quickly, and seeing as how one cannot be expected to eat just kale salad for lunch, I roasted the surplus squash and whipped up these pancakes. They were meant to be quietly enjoyed by me, my sister, and my dad (who is in town visiting!) the recipe perhaps shared in Fall 2017, in my next blaze of Squash/Pumpkin Glory. So what happened, you might ask?!

Turns out I don't like kale salad all that much. Oh, the idea intrigued me, for many reasons. Kale salad, I'd read, actually needed to be dressed ahead of time in order for the acid in the dressing to break down the tough leaves. It was practically wilt-proof (unthinkable for a salad,) super good for you, and a huge food trend not so long ago. And what better way to balance out all the pasta and dessert on here but with raw kale, perhaps the most virtuous of green vegetables, in its purest form?! Fast forward a couple of hours, when I discovered that the kale -- even after a good hour or two after being dressed -- still tasted, well, raw, overly vegetable-y, a little bit too virtuous. "What is the kale bringing to the table here?" my father asked thoughtfully, observing a forkful of it. "Can't you make this with spinach? Romaine? Pass me more of those pancakes though, if you don't mind, those are delicious."

The pancakes! They were delicious. So delicious that it would be a huge shame to not share them here, pumpkin/squash recipe overload be damned -- I wouldn't be doing my duty as a blogger if I didn't give this one to you. They were fluffy and light and cheesy, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, slightly sweet thanks to the squash, drizzled with toasty nutty brown butter and cozy crispy sage (squash/pumpkin's soulmate). Yes, my friends -- mixing your vegetables with cheese, frying them in a pan and then serving them with butter is, surprise, surprise, slightly tastier than eating them raw, at least this time around. This made a great light meal paired with a salad, but would also be a perfect option for any vegetarians you'll be feeding this year (you know, the poor souls that can't eat the turkey, or the stuffing with sausage in it, or those peas with bacon either). I daresay I'd rather have a stack of these instead of few slices of turkey, anyways, and come to think of it, these would even be a good post-Turkey day dish if you have any squash leftover at the end of your feast. 

A couple of notes: I used freshly grated Parmesan here, but you could also use Gruyere or other kinds of cheese with good results. I haven't tried this yet, but I think you could probably use mashed up sweet potato instead of the squash. When making the brown butter, I find it is helpful to use a light colored skillet or pan if possible, so you can more easily see and keep track of the browning process. If you want, you can keep your pancakes warm in between batches in a 200 degree oven, on a baking sheet covered with foil. Finally, my apologies for the slightly incomplete step by step photos, but like I said, I didn't have any intention of posting this any time soon!

Looking for other savory squash/pumpkin recipes? Check out this pappardelle and this risotto. Looking for sweet pancake recipes? Check out these Chocolate Chip Pancakes, these Pumpkin Pancakes, and these Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes. Looking for savory waffles instead of savory pancakes? Try out these Waffles with Cheese, Prosciutto, and a Fried Egg.


Ingredients for the pancakes:
1 cup (8 to 8 1/4 ounces) roasted and mashed winter squash
1/3 cup (80 grams) plain yogurt 
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (about 30 grams) freshly grated Parmesan
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
A few grinds of black pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
Butter or olive oil for the frying pan

Ingredients for the sage brown butter:
2 to 3 tablespoons butter
A pinch or two of salt
A few fresh sage leaves

To roast squash, if you're starting from scratch here: for butternut or kabocha squash, Deb (yes, this yet another genius recipe from recommends halving the squash, scooping out the seeds and roasting it face-down on an oiled baking sheet sprinkled with coarse salt. Roast at 375 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, or until tender. You'll get about 2 cups mashed squash from one 2-pound (i.e. small-medium) whole squash. If yours is already peeled and in, say, 1-inch chunks, it will likely be tender in just 25 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the squash, yogurt, eggs, cheese, salt, pepper and baking powder until smooth. Add the flour and then the cheese and stir until just combined. 
Heat a large frying over medium-low to medium heat. Coat the bottom with butter or olive oil, and spoon in the pancake batter (a scant 1/4 cup at a time). Press the back of the batter mound to flatten the pancake slightly. Cook the pancake until golden brown underneath (you'll see telltale little bubbles start to appear on the surface) and flip and then cook until the color until golden brown on the second side. Repeat with remaining batter.
To finish, place the butter, a pinch or two of salt and sage leaves in a small pan over medium heat. The sage leaves will crisp and the butter will brown in a minute or two so keep a close watch on it. Pour the sage brown butter over the pancakes and serve immediately. Makes about 12 pancakes.

Recipe from the one and only Deb Perelman over at 

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