Ok, in my previous post I strayed pretty far from God’s light, so we’re bringing it back with a savoury pancake recipe. I had this for dinner last night, as pictured above (ignore the ice-screw in the picture – you don’t need one for this recipe) and it was gorgeously rich and rather therapeutic to make. I had to add some petit pois because I’d mindlessly added too much sea salt to the leeks, forgetting that bacon and gruyere season the dish without any extra help. Bulking out the volume of a dish with other ingredients is the ONLY way to reverse oversalting and adding peas worked beautifully, but it’s totally optional.
A quick disclaimer on recipe cost, as yes, I know that Gruyere and bacon lardons are not cheap:
Now I’m no longer drinking my student loan away at the pub, or on climbing trips, I have more economic capital to spend on food. Gruyere and bacon lardons don’t count as cheap student food in my books but I’ve got nothing better to spend my money on all on so here we are. If you’re on a tight budget, you can use any strong cheese that melts well and chopped streaky bacon rather than lardons. But it won’t be as *french* if you do that.
This recipe involves a some multitasking and bit of tactical pan mangement but is quite simple in concept, and serves two quite hungry people perfectly. Serve it with a green salad to mitigate the richness of the bacon and cheese, if you want to.
110g of wholemeal flour (around an American cupful, which is about 2/3 of a large coffee mug). Also dinnae fash if you’ve only got plain. The wholemeal is to add to the *savoury* vibe.
Two tablespoons of melted butter
230-270 mls of whole milk
Pinch of salt
Packet of smoked bacon lardons
1 big leek
Half a block of gruyere – about the size of a deck of cards
A mug of petit pois (optional)
Millions of black pepper
Blob or two of butter
Make the pancake batter. Add the flour to a large-ish bowl, make a wee dip in the bowl and crack the eggs into it. Stir the eggs with a fork or a balloon whisk until you have a thick batter. If you can’t stir it and it’s too thick, add some of the milk. Add in the rest of the milk little by little – you might need more or less than specified but what you’re looking for is a thinnish batter, thinner than double cream but not by much. Melt the butter in the microwave in a small bowl and add to the batter, stirring loads so it blends in and doesn’t just sit on the top. Add a pinch of salt and any herbs you like. Dried tarragon might be nice actually.
Heat the oven to about 60 degrees celsius.
Now you’re going to be doing two things at once for the rest of this if you do it my way. If you don’t want to multitask, cook off all your pancakes now in a hot pan with a little oil or butter, and keep them warm in the oven, stacked on top of each other on a big plate. Then read the next bit so you get everything about how to make the filling. The only reason I’d advise against this is the longer the pancakes are kept in the oven, the floppier and greasier they’ll be.
If you want to do it my way, get a large frying pan out and tip in the bacon lardons – you don’t have to wait for the pan to heat up this time. Fry the lardons slowly at first so all the fat comes out. Chop the leek into thin rings, and when there’s enough fat in the pan from the bacon lardons, add them in. Turn it up to medium and add a blodge of butter. Now heat up a pancake pan on high and begin frying your pancakes while keeping an eye on the leeks and bacon. This takes some multitasking as the pancakes do cook quickly. While that’s all happening, grate the gruyere on the finest side of the box grater, or get a trusted ally to do that for you. Shuggle the pan containing the leeks and lardons, making sure that everything is getting to know each other, perhaps adding some black pepper if you like. Keep both pans going, sliding all the cooked pancakes off onto a plate to stay warm in the oven and making sure the leeks and bacon are colouring nicely.
When the bacon is nice and brown, and the leeks are just cooked, add your peas if you’re using them. They’ll defrost very quickly and go a lurid shade of green. When they’re completely warmed through, shuggle the pan again so that everything is in an even layer. Remember to flip that pancake you’ve just forgotten about. Whoops. Add more black pepper to the leeks. Now, sprinkle the finely grated gruyere over the leek mixture and keep it on the heat until it’s just melted. Transfer the pan to the lightly warmed oven while you cook the rest of the pancakes – there should only be about 3 or 4 to go now. The cheese should go delightfully oozy in the oven.
Get your boyfriend to lay the table and pour you a stonking glass of pinot grigio. As soon as the last pancake is done, slide it out and put the plate on the table, along with the pan of filling. Scoop lines of the bacon and leek mixture in the centre of the pancake and swaddle it with the edges. If you’re being polite, use a knife and fork to eat it – if you’re me, roll it up like a weirdly buttery cigar and chomp at the end of it, savouring the bacon fat running down your wrists. Serve with a green salad dressed with lemon to cut through the fattiness of these pancakes.
Let me know how it goes, my homies.