These are pancakes that push the envelope a bit ... this from a Yankee who takes her pancakes seriously.
When one mentions pancakes to a New Englander, the image of a three stack of fluffy golden buttermilk-based rounds comes to mind. There's a pat of sweet cream butter melting at the center of each cake. There is a pitcher of dark amber maple syrup alongside for drizzling, as needed. A small mound of crispy bacon or sausage links and a hot cuppa Joe complete the scene in the mind's eye.
Well folks, these ain't yer usual pancakes.
It takes an innovator to turn a pancake on its ear and that's just what Yotam Ottolenghi does with this recipe for Green Pancakes. Yes, they're pancakes, as they incorporate an egg and milk and flour batter. But wait, there's chopped spinach and green onions, and hot green chili pepper in there too! Cumin makes for a golden spicy batter that coats the vegetables and make a savory pancake worthy of a light supper. And that's exactly how we dealt with our batch!
To top things off, YO adds a flavour punch with a spicy whipped butter that has minced garlic, lime zest and juice, white pepper, and red chili flakes ... zingy stuff! Leftover butter is perfect, he says, on a baked sweet potato. So that's how we paired these pancakes ... a three stack and a baked sweet potato. Scratch the coffee and sub in a chilled glass of dry Reisling. Dang, what a great light supper! It sure wasn't New England diner food! YO has taken us to another place with this dish!
Make and enjoy, but don't forget about knoshing a good old-fashioned three stack with maple syrup now and then!
A few words about the recipe - Ottolenghi suggests that this recipe feeds three to four. That works well, if you are planning this dish as an appetizer. I made the recipe and used one-third cup of batter for each pancake. That made six pancakes that are about six inches in diameter. SB and I had our three stack and it was the perfect amount for our meatless supper when we buttered up a big sweet potato for each of us. If you prefer to make the pancakes as an appetizer, use about 2 tablespoons per pancake and you'll get about a dozen small cakes. When making the pancakes, use a non-stick pan and coat it with a light brushing of olive oil. If you use any more oil than a brushing, the pancakes will be heavy with the oil ... the first one I made was my test and it absorbed the olive oil when I tried to drizzle a bit in the pan and twirl the pan to coat the bottom. If you use olive oil cooking spray, that would be the perfect easy solution here - just a bit helps things along when flipping. Finally, I took this recipe from Ottolenghi's cookbook called Plenty, but I changed up a couple of the ingredients. I didn't use self-rising flour, as he suggests. I used all purpose flour and increased the baking powder just a bit. I also used buttermilk instead of regular whole milk. I also used 2 eggs instead of one egg and one egg white.
Green Pancakes with Lime Butter
an adapted Ottolenghi recipe
Lime Butter Ingredients:
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
Juice and zest of one lime
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. ground white pepper
1 generous tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
¼ tsp. red chili flakes
Smash all the ingredients together in a small bowl, then turn the savory butter onto a piece of plastic wrap and gather roll it into a small log. Refrigerate to harden it up a bit.
Green Pancakes Ingredients:
½ lb. fresh spinach leaves, washed and spun, picked over and stemmed
¾ c. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. plus ¼ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. Kosher salt
4 tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. ground cumin
⅔ c. plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk
6 medium green onions, tipped and sliced thinly into coins and rings
1 fresh hot green chili pepper, sliced into paper-thin rings
2 eggs, separated
Making the Pancakes:
- Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder in a deep bowl. Set aside.
- Place several tbsp. of water in a deep skillet, cover and bring to a simmer. In batches, wilt the spinach for about one minute, remove with a slotted spoon and squeeze excess water from the spinach. Chop and set aside to cool,
- Melt the butter and add the cumin to it, setting it aside to let the warmth of the butter work with the spice oils.
- Measure out the buttermilk and add the egg yolks. Whisk to break up the yolks and make a golden yellow mixture.
- In a separate mixing cup, use an whisk to whip the egg whites iuntil soft peaks form.
- Add the milk mixture and butter to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine.
- Add the spinach, onions, and chili pepper to the batter and mix in with a fork.
- Turn the egg whites in and fold to make a soft airy batter.
- Heat a large non-stick fry pan or griddle over medium high heat. Brush with olive oil and when the pan is hot, use a small measuring cup or soup ladle pour on the batter. Swirl the batter out to form nice rounds and cook until golden brown on each side.
- Hold the pancakes on a platter in a warming oven until all the batter is used.
- Serve piping hot with a generous pat of the lime butter on each pancake.
The I Heart Cooking Club is concentrating on the various pancakes and vegetable combinations of Yotam's repertoire this week ... do pop over the the club's site to see what other bloggers are sharing! It promises to be a tasty affair!