Three Sisters Griddle Cakes
makes about 25 small griddle cakes | start to finish: 20 minutes
“The Three Sisters”—corn, beans, and squash—have been grown as companion plants for thousands of years by indigenous people all over the continent. The tradition continues today among modern gardeners. The crops are mutually beneficial: tall corn stalks provide a climbing structure for beans, which in turn provide nitrogen for the other plants. Squash vines create natural groundcover, inhibiting weed growth and providing beneficial microclimates. Following the old adage, “If it grows together, it goes together,” The Three Sisters combine well, including these griddle cakes.
These small cakes work as a casual appetizer when spread with butter or fresh goat cheese, or as a side dish to barbecue—perfect for mopping up drips and sauce. Using corn cut straight from the cob, especially with char from roasting or grilling, will magnify the corn’s sweetness.
1 cup grated zucchini or yellow summer squash
1 teaspoon table salt, plus more to taste
1 cup cooked corn kernels (frozen or canned will also work)
1 cup cooked beans, such as pinto, red, or black
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter, plus more for cooking/serving
1 cup flour (gluten-free also works)
1 teaspoon baking powder
In a medium-sized bowl, toss the grated zucchini with the salt and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Add the corn.
Add the beans to one side of the bowl and mash them roughly against the bowl’s wall with the back of a fork.
Stir in the scallions, thyme, egg, milk and melted butter, mixing thoroughly. In a small bowl, mix the flour and baking powder together thoroughly. Pour the flour mixture over the vegetable mixture and stir until just combined.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, or set a griddle to 325°. Melt a small amount of butter on the skillet or griddle and spoon the batter by the rounded tablespoonful for bite-sized cakes. Brown the first side for 3 minutes, or until the edges start to look dry. Flip and brown the second side for 3 more minutes.
Serve hot or room temperature, with a smear of butter or goat cheese (optional).
gluten-free • vegetarian