This spring is totally crazy! Cold, rain, wind, a couple of hot sunny days, but then... a total nightmare! Even at the market there are products from different periods that are actually all in season... Unfortunately though, for what regards fruit, this weather has made it difficult for it to become ripe. Anyway, the other day when I did my food shopping at the stall in San Lio, the dominant colour was green, so I gave in to temptations and bought a big bag of leafy vegetables.
Among the seasonal herbs, the bladder campions (in Italian, carletti) looked delicious, so they were my first choice, then I got some chicory, a couple of leeks and other greens for the week like artichokes, asparagus, zucchini and a variety of radicchi.
In today's post, I'm sharing a recipe for savoury pancakes with herbs and a side of sautéed greens. I decided to make pancakes because speaking with Vito I discovered he had never tasted them, so I thought it would have been nice to fill this gap. Then, the choice fell on a savoury variant simply because neither of us has a sweet tooth.
In Italy we don't really have the tradition of pancakes, I'd say that normally with eggs we make frittata and, anyway, for breakfast we tend to look more at other baked goods, like brioche or toasted bread with jam or honey. As for myself, I've always liked pancakes and occasionally make them -in a savoury variant- if I'm alone for lunch and want something quick. Mum would sometimes make pancakes for me when I was a child and stayed at her house at the weekend, as a special breakfast. The house was located in Calle del Vin and we used to call it 'the pink house', because it had a pink moquette floor and a floral wall paper. It was very liberty style, and we liked it. I think of those days with a little bit of nostalgia, because Venice was a very different city at the time.
Anyway, going back to our pancakes, allow me say they were really nice. The addition of chopped bladder campion in the dough added a fresh taste and the next time I might also add a few leaves of chopped basil. I used the basic pancake recipe, with whole wheat flour, eggs, milk, baking powder and salt and finally got to try the pancake pan I bought last month! I prepared the dough first, so while it was cooling in the fridge, I made the side dish.
One of the simplest yet always perfect recipes for sautéed leafy greens is with oil, garlic, fresh chilli, capers, anchovies and lemon zests. All ingredients that are ever present in my pantry and that I used in today's side too. I washed the veg well, roughly dried it out, chopped it and then, in less than ten minutes, the pan did the rest. What ended up in my pan was a mix of chicory, leeks, bladder campions, but you can use whatever green you have available at your farmers market at the moment, it always works. [ If you are not into anchovies, to get that extra saltiness you can use sun dried tomatoes or olives, possibly black.]
When I served the pancakes and the side, I was a bit anxious about Vito's feedback, but -as always- he appreciated the food and ate everything. In the fridge there was some leftover tzatziki from the previous evening, so we spread a little bit on our pancakes and it was simply perfect. An easy, quick and tasty solution for a spring meal. Let me know if you like it!
SAVOURY PANCAKES WITH SPRING HERBS AND A GREEN SIDE DISH
yield: 15 pancakes
- For the pancakes:
200 gr whole wheat flour
250 ml full fat milk
a pinch of salt
3 Tbs chopped bladder campions
2 teaspoon baking powder (or soda)
2 teaspoon seed oil (or 2 knobs of butter)
- For the side dish:
1 wild chicory bunch
bladder campions (or other spring herb)
2 cloves of garlic
1 fresh chilli pepper
1 teaspoon capers
lemon zests to garnish
- For the pancakes:
1. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt.
2. Ina separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, add a pinch of salt and about 3 Tbsp of chopped bladder campions.
3. Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture, amalgamate well, cover in plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
4. When the time has passed, heat a pancake pan, add a few drops of seed oil (or a knob of butter) and with a scoop pour a little bit of the dough onto the pan. When bubbles start to form on the top, turn and cook on the other side for a few minutes. Repeat until you have finished the dough.
- For the side dish:
1. Wash the vegetables and chop roughly.
2. Heat a pan, add a few drops of olive oil, the crushed cloves of garlic, the finely chopped chilli, the capers, the anchovies and the veg. Stir and let cook for about one minute at high heat. Then lower the heat and cook for another 7/8 minutes.
3. When ready, grate some lemon zests and serve with your pancakes.