ACORN SQUASH AND CARAMELIZED FENNEL PANCAKES (GLUTEN-FREE)

From Carrie Clough

I small Acorn squash (or any small fall/winter squash will work)
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced, and small handful of fennel fronds
2 eggs, beaten
2–4 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup milk
½ cup rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 400°.

Grease a sturdy baking sheet with olive oil or butter. Slice Acorn squash lengthwise in half and scoop out the seeds (save seeds for roasting or put in the compost). Place squash cut side down onto baking sheet and roast for about 25–30 minutes or until squash feels tender to the touch and its undersides look brown and caramelized. Remove from oven and cool.

While the squash is roasting, season a cast-iron pan or sauté pan over medium-low heat with 1–2 teaspoons olive oil and add sliced fennel. Allow fennel to caramelize while stirring frequently.

In a small saucepan, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter. Let cool. In a medium bowl, add melted butter to beaten eggs and milk and mix together. Scoop out flesh from the baked squash and mix in with the wet ingredients. Add the caramelized fennel and fennel fronds.

In another small bowl, combine rice flour, baking powder and sea salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly. If batter looks a little thick, add a little milk to thin it out (amount can vary depending on the size of the squash). If it gets too thin, just add a little more rice flour. You can’t over mix because there’s no gluten to be activated (a fork is easier than a whisk).

Heat a skillet over medium heat with 2 teaspoons olive oil (or clarified butter if you prefer) and dab out excess with a towel if you’re using a nonstick pan. Drop the pancake batter onto the hot (but not too hot) skillet using a ¼-cup measuring cup. The bigger they are, the harder they’ll be to flip, so make them on the small to medium side. Once evenly browned on one side, flip to the other side and cook for about 30 seconds to a minute.

Serve as savory pancakes with crème fraiche or chutney or serve at breakfast with maple syrup or applesauce.

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