Despite what meat-lovers may say, a completely vegetarian meal can be filling and incredibly satisfying, especially when it's filled with all your favourite vegetables. Okay...almost vegetarian, as there was a sprinkle of bacon in one of the dishes.
The main attraction to this meal was zucchini pancakes from David Tanis' new cookbook Heart of the Artichoke. This is a beautiful book celebrating the harvest of each season. The recipes are simple yet beautiful and appealing, with menus to serve just one (a little kitchen snack for the cook!) or to hold a feast. I was immediately drawn to this recipe as I love zucchini, and while zucchini is past its season here, I was still able to pick some up at the market.
The key to these pancakes is to make sure you drain the zucchini of its moisture, as it has a high water content. If you don't, you'll be left with soggy pancakes. These pancakes are light and fluffy, flecked green throughout with all the zucchini, parsley and green onions. The cheese adds great flavour and also helps make them creamy in the middle. Fabulous warm or at room temperature, these are great served on their own or would make a great base for eggs benedict.
Served alongside the zucchini pancakes were roasted potatoes and a vegetable salad inspired by London, Ontario's The Only on King. I've been thinking about the salad Chefs Schubert and Harding served us for lunch a few weeks ago at the Tawse Terroir tour. It was a simple salad of fall vegetables (beet, carrot, turnip, radish, brussel sprout) roasted to perfection and simple dressed with really good Tuscan olive oil, sprinkled on top with the world's most amazing lamb bacon.
My variation was scaled down, using my preferred fall vegetables—beets, rainbow carrots and brussel sprouts from the market. I roasted the beets separately, in their skin and wrapped in foil. The carrots I roasted in a 400°F oven for about 35 minutes and were starting to turn golden brown and fork tender. I added the brussel sprout leaves 5 minutes before the carrots were finished. Drizzled the vegetables with really good Spanish olive oil (Dauro) and sprinkled with some lardons (made with regular bacon), as I sadly have yet to track down lamb bacon here in Toronto (if anyone knows where I can get some, please tell me!!). Such simplicity really allows the sweetness of the vegetables to speak for themselves.
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