I’m just back from a weeklong yoga retreat in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain, where the meals were modest and vegetarian, and often without dairy or gluten, due to the dietary needs of some of the other yogis. Which made me start thinking again about what brings flavor to a dish, and what’s necessary and what’s not.
Especially right now, when there’s so much that’s in season, there’s no reason to try to do some big cover-up with cheese, or anything, really. I would’ve put fresh cilantro in these, but I didn’t have any, and it’s not available at the Carrefour or the stinky Franprix, and don’t get me started about what’s not open right now and will not reopen until the rentrée in September. The neighborhood marché is all but closed and the two nearest boulangeries are closed until the end of August, and the shoe repair shop, the eyewear shops, and nearly everything else has hand-scribbled “fermeture exceptionnelle” signs in the windows. It’s like a ghost town around here.
But the grocery stores are open, albeit with dwindling stock, so I’ll be cooking with what I can find for the next few weeks, which is one more reason to aim for easy and simple.
Back to the galettes. I often reach for plain flour or cornmeal when making savory pancakes, but this time, I decided to try something different: rice flour. Instead of my default, yogurt, or some kind of tzaziki sauce spooned on top, I made a simple avocado salsa — four ingredients, y’all! — which would also work on top of any sort of taco or enchilada, or for that matter, just eaten by the spoonful.
I made these with leftover grated carrots from the Torta Ace, and zucchini, because they’re crazy cheap right now. The spices are Tex-Mexy in spirit, but you’ll notice that I’ve got turmeric on the ingredients list, too, which makes these extra yellow. I’m trying to add a little bit of this when it makes sense to whatever I’m making, because it’s a great anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon, too, which I now sprinkle into my daily smoothies.
In my eating and in my life, I’m (still) trying to find some kind of balance. Some days, it feels like I’m getting there. Other times, when I find myself
yelling speaking in a slightly raised voice to the Taxi Bleu driver, who’s barrelling down the periph at 70 mph while looking down and reading a map on his lap BECAUSE HE HAS NO GPS DEVICE and doesn’t know where he’s going, and the fare just passed 34 euros, I realize I’ve got a long way to go.
Carrot-Zucchini Galettes with Avocado Salsa
Makes 8 (4-inch) galettes
- 1 avocado
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil
- 1 small clove of garlic
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 ½ cups grated zucchini, drained
- 1 cup grated carrot
- ¼ cup diced white onion
- ½ cup rice flour
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- sprinkle of smoked paprika, plus more for serving
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- Valentina sauce or your favorite salsa, for serving
- Make the avocado salsa. Put the first five ingredients in your blender and let ‘er go until the texture is smooth and creamy. Taste for seasonings.
- In a bowl, toss together the grated zucchini, carrot, onions, rice flour, egg, cumin, turmeric, chili powder, smoked paprika, and salt. Put the 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil in a large skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When it’s hot, using your ice cream scoop or a large spoon, put as many pancakes into the skillet that’ll easily fit, leaving 1 inch between them. Cook until browned on one side, then flip them over. Make sure these cook completely and not too quickly, because you don’t want them to be wet in the middle. If you’re making these in advance, keep the cooked pancakes warm on a rack set over a cookie sheet in a 200°F degree oven.
- Serve with a spoonful or two of avocado salsa on top. Feeling spicy? Splash some Valentina on there, too.