Wednesdays are exciting because it is the day of my CSA pick up and farmers' market day. The produce all look so enticing that it's too easy for me to shop more than I really should. The real estate in my fridge is precious and I always want to free up some space. Just the other day when I open the fridge door, that ginormous bag of beet greens was mocking me, taking up half of my produce drawer. Making soup is an efficient way to reduce a large pile of greens into manageable size but a beet greens soup is not quite the follow up act to the summer borscht made from his brothers. What to do?
Ottolenghi's Plenty has some unexpected dishes and the Green Pancakes with Lime Butter was one. It turns a familiar sweet treat to savory by adding spinach, cumin, and spring onion to the batter. How brilliant! I was intantly inspired to adapt it for the beet greens. The original recipe calls for a pancake batter made with self-rising flour and whole milk, neither of which I have at home. I turned to the reliable The Cake Bible and its fluffy buttermilk pancake recipe. As you can see in the photo, these pancakes are TALL! Each of them is about 1/2 inch thick and smells absolutely divine from the cumin and spring onion. A bit of heat is added in the form of finely diced jalapeno. If you look closely, you can see a slight tint of pink because of the wilted beet greens.
Savory pancake really isn't all that strange. If you like chicken & waffle, this fluffy buttermilk pancake packed with flavours isn't a big stretch. Definitely a welcome change to brunch. They would be great with some grilled sausages but equally at home served with lavender & thyme roasted poussins to mop up the delicious pan jus.
Beet Greens Buttermilk Pancake
- 450g beet greens, washed and trimmed
- 3 stalks of green onion, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno, finely diced
- 227g cake flour, sifted
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 500mL buttermilk or huslanka
- 4 eggs, yolks and whites seperated
- 40g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- vegetable oil for the frying pan or griddle
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the beet greens until just wilt. Rinse under cold water so it keeps the vibrant colour. Drain and squeeze as much water as you can from the greens. Roughly chop and toss together with green onion and jalapeno. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cumin, and salt.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together buttermilk and egg yolks.
- Gently stir buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. It's okay to have a few lumps. You don't want to overwork the batter. Stir in melted butter and chopped vegetable.
- In a clean mixing bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whip until soft peak stage.
- Take a big dollop of egg whites and gently fold it into the batter. This lightens up the batter so you can fold in the remaining egg whites without losing much volumn. The batter would be very airy and thick.
- Heat a frying pan or griddle until a drop of water sizzles. Coat the surface with a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Ladle in about half a cup of batter and coax it into a round. Fry in medium heat on both sides until cooked through. Repeat until all the batter is gone.