Leave it to Yotam Ottolenghi (Plenty Cookbook,Chronicle Books, 2011) to make eating veggies far from being boring! I once made his Green Pancakes with Lime-Cilantro Butter and it was such a hit at home! So, I had this wild idea to further adapt the recipe to include sundried tomato pesto with some Swiss chard.
Technically, you can replace the sundried tomato pesto component for anything you’d like – it’s that versatile! You can substitute with any kind of pesto: roasted red pepper (tried this before, yum!); basil; arugula; artichoke; cilantro, chili, and ginger pesto – anything!
These little savoury pancakes are perfect for school snacks or lunch. It’s hearty enough to be eaten for breakfast, but not too heavy for supper. It can be made in advance for a party or picnic. It’s a breeze to prepare, with little mess to think of later on. When you want something versatile, you have the right recipe here.
- 60 grams (1/2 cup) sundried tomatoes, preferably packed in oil and drained
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon olive oil + more for frying
- a splash of red wine vinegar (optional)
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 300 grams Swiss chard leaves, tough stalks removed
- 100 grams (3/4 cup) cake flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 large egg (about 50 grams)
- 60 grams (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or piment d'Espelette powder
- 160 ml (2/3 cup) milk
- 2 tablespoons yogurt
- 2 stalks green onions, finely sliced
- 1 egg white
- First, make the pesto by combining drained sundried tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar (optional) in the bowl of a food processor. Blend until the tomatoes are finely chopped. Stir in the cheese.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the Swiss chard leaves until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in a sieve and set aside. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess water. This will yield about half the weight (150 grams) of cooked chard. Roughly chop and put aside.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, whole egg, melted butter, salt, paprika, milk, and yogurt in a large bowl and whisk until smooth.
- Add the green onions, chard, and sundried tomato pesto and mix until evenly incorporated.
- Whisk the egg white with an electric beater or mixer fitted with with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Gently fold in egg white to the pancake batter.
- Pour a small amount of olive oil into a heavy pan and place on medium heat. For each pancake, ladle 2- or 3-tablespoonfuls of batter. This yields about 3-inch pancakes. Cook one side for 2 minutes or until the top just starts to set but is still wet. Flip pancake and cook the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium-low if pancakes brown too quickly.
- Transfer to paper towels and keep warm. Continue until all the batter is used.