Monday, 7 March 2011

Green Pancakes with Lime Butter

As I knew the Ewing was planning to work late next week (and would probably be more interested in watching Holby City and eating chocolate biscuits than making pancakes) I decided to celebrate Shrove Tuesday two days early by making these Green Pancakes with Lime Butter for Sunday brunch.

I got the basis of the recipe while leafing through a copy of Yottam Ottolengi's Plenty at work last week.  It looked delicious, seemed apt for Pancake Day and there weren't any outlandish ingredients to hunt around for.  Perfect!

If I had looked at the method a bit more closely the idea of making a flavoured butter, steaming the spinach, whisking egg whites, finely chopping veg and making a batter may have put me off.  As it was it was all pretty simple, routine stuff.  And with a beer in hand, the cricket on the radio and the sun shining it turned into a very enjoyable and relaxing morning in the kitchen.  (not sure the Ewing was so impressed with all the washing up though...)

Originally I was going to skip the lime butter but, as I had all the ingredients to hand, I decided to make it properly. (although I just guessed the quantities for my butter I have put Ottolenghi's original amounts in the recipe below, minus the half clove of garlic which I missed out.)  The lime really lifted the dish and the butter added a lovely extra richness to counteract all the green veg goodness in the pancakes.The recipe suggests any leftover butter could be served with baked sweet potatoes and I think it would work well with fish or chicken too.

Green Pancakes with Lime Butter
For the lime butter
100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Zest 1 lime plus juice of half a lime
Large pinch of salt
Large pinch of pepper
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
Large pinch of chilli flakes
For the pancakes
110g self-raising flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 egg
50g unsalted butter, melted
Pinch of salt
Pinch ground cumin
150ml milk
Bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
1 green chilli, finely sliced
250g baby spinach
1 egg white
Olive oil, for frying
First, make the lime butter. Put the butter in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until it turns soft and creamy. Stir in the remaining ingredients. place on to a sheet of clingfilm and roll into a sausage shape. Twist the ends to seal, then chill until firm. (I stuck mine in the freezer)
For the pancake batter, put the flour, baking powder, egg, butter, salt, cumin and milk in a mixing bowl, and whisk until smooth. Add the onion and chilli to the batter.
Put the spinach in a pan with a splash of water, cook until wilted, drain, squeeze dry, then roughly chop and add to the batter.
Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and carefully fold it in to the batter.
Pour a little oil into a heavy frying pan and place on medium-high heat. For each pancake, ladle two  tablespoons of batter into the pan and press down gently.  (I cooked three at a time)
Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until a nice golden-green colour. Transfer pancakes to a plate and keep warm in the oven.
Repeat, adding oil as needed, until all the mixture is used up. (I made nine pancakes altogether)
To serve, pile up three pancakes per person and place a disc of flavoured butter on top to melt.

I served this with some smoked trout, lime wedges and a few coriander leaves and it was delicious.  The panckes would work well with anything salty; bacon, chorizo, goats cheese or grilled halloumi would be good, or even just some dressed salad leaves if you're feeling virtuous.  A few freezing cold beers certainly wouldn't go amiss with this either.

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