I have seldom posted a recipe that wasn’t my own on this blog, but I am making an exception. I feel comfortable doing so because A) this recipe already appeared in print in the London Times in 2008; and B) I am posting it entirely to encourage you to buy the author’s cookbook, Plenty. Plenty is the culinary brainchild of London restaurant owner Yotam Ottolenghi, and the considerable press buzz surrounding it is absolutely merited.
Mr. Ottolenghi is Israeli, and his dishes are Med-Rim in flavor, drawing from the culinary heritage of northern Africa, the Mediterranean Middle East, and southern Europe. The recipes are vibrant and modern, sometimes complex but never fussy. Plenty happens to be a vegetarian cookbook, although its author and his eponymous restaurant are not. But this is not the meager, stretched-thin sort of food that outsiders often associate with their herbivorous brethren; instead it is filling, tasty, and somehow indulgent. The recipes can be a meal themselves or co-exist happily alongside meat; Monday night, we sampled Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemongrass Creme Fraiche, and they made a brilliant partner to smoked turkey breast and peppery greens.
I served Plenty‘s Green Pancakes with Lime Butter as part of the spread at our Super Bowl bash, and they were delicious. The original recipe calls only for spinach, but I substituted Organic Girl’s Super Greens, a mix of baby greens that includes red and green chard, spinach, arugula, and tat soi. I also chose to use one large, milder Anaheim pepper instead of two smaller green chiles to control the heat, since I knew some of our guests were not fans of spicy food. Other than that, I stuck stolidly to the recipe and was completely satisfied with the results. These are easily made ahead and warmed just before serving, and the lime butter is equally brilliant over other veggies and fish or chicken. Make this recipe, love it, and then buy the cookbook. :)
Ottolenghi’s Green Pancakes with Lime Butter
makes a dozen 3″-pancakes, serves 3-4
8 oz. (about 8 cups) raw spinach or mixed greens, washed
3/4 c. self-rising flour (see Recipe Notes below to make your own)
1 Tbsp. baking powder
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp. kosher or coarse sea salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
2/3 c. milk
6 medium green onions, finely sliced
2 fresh green chiles, thinly sliced
1 egg white
olive oil for frying
For lime butter:
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter (one stick), at room temperature
grated zest of one lime
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice (that was the juice of one lime in my case)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. chile flakes
To make the lime butter, beat butter in small mixing bowl with wooden spoon until soft and creamy. Add rest of butter ingredients and mix well. Tip on to a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment and roll into a sausage shape, then chill until firm.
Wilt the spinach in a saute pan with a splash of water over medium heat. (If using mixed greens, wilting will take a couple minutes more.) Drain in a sieve, and when cool, squeeze hard with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Roughly chop and set aside.
Put the flour, baking powder, whole egg, melted butter, salt, cumin, and milk in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the green onions, green chiles, and chopped spinach, and mix well with a fork. Whisk the egg white in a small bowl until it holds stiff peaks, then gently fold into the pancake batter with a silicone spatula.
Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. For each pancake, ladle in two tablespoons of batter and press down gently. Cook for about two minutes on each side, until golden brown and green. Transfer to paper towels, and continue cooking until all batter is used; you should have about twelve 3″-wide pancakes. To serve, pile up three warm pancakes for each guest and top with a slice of lime butter to melt over the top.
Recipe Notes + Tips:
If you don’t have self-rising flour on hand, mix one cup all-purpose flour, 1-1/4 tsp. baking powder, and a pinch of salt. I place my ingredients straight into a zip-close bag so they are easily mixed and stored. This recipe requires only 3/4 cup of self-rising flour, so you’ll have a little left over for your next recipe.