I am not a vegetarian by any stretch of the imagination To me, bacon is the greatest food that has ever existed. I also have an unrequited love affair with Shake Shack cheeseburgers, and roast chicken is one of the simple pleasures in life, but when spring produce arrives with abundance at the farmer's market, I unintentionally ignore meat and give the green stuff the attention it deserves. (Maybe you can call me a seasonal vegetarian?) I've basically lived off of vegetables for the past 10 days (I needed a little vacation cleanse) and when there are dishes like this to be made and eaten, it's easy to live off glorious produce. These pancakes and hearty and satisfying. The kind of thing that reminds you of being a kid when your mom when try and sneakily hide vegetables in dishes you would eat, accept here the greens are front and center. Spinach gets to shine and it pairs beautifully with a creamy yogurt sauce. A little lime zest and cumin adds the appropriate amount of zing. This is a beautifully elegant spring dinner.
Green Pancakes with Lime Yogurt Sauce
Recipe adapted (barely) from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
For the Lime Yogurt
1 cup Greek yogurt
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon chile flakes or smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 lb (about 8 cups) spinach, washed
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teasspoon ground cumin
2/3 cup milk
6 medium green onions, finely sliced
2 fresh green chiles, thinly sliced
1 egg white
Olive oil for frying
To make the lime yogurt sauce. Combine the yogurt, lime zest, lime juice, salt, pepper, cilantro, and chile flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Wilt the spinach in a pan with a splash of water. Drain in a sieve and, when cool, squeeze hard with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Roughly chop and put 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, chiles and spinach and mix with a fork. Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and gently fold it into the batter.
Pour a small amount of olive oil into a heavy frying pan and place on medium-high heat. For each pancake, ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and press down gently. You should get smallish pancakes, about 3 inches in diameter and 3/8 inch thick. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until you get a good golden-green color. Transfer to paper towels and keep warm. Continue making pancakes, adding oil to the pan as needed, until the batter is used up.
To serve, pile up three warm pancakes per person and add a dollop of yogurt sauce on top.