This recipe was on a recent issue of Food and Wine magazine, and I could not wait to try it, because at our recent rehearsal dinner in Sedona we ordered a batch of pea pancakes as an appetizer course, and they were a big hit. René Restaurant’s version was gluten-free, this one takes a small amount of all-purpose flour. A very elegant and tasty way to celebrate spring…
PEA PANCAKES WITH HERBED YOGURT
(slightly adapted from Food and Wine magazine)
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, plus sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons of finely chopped tarragon, plus sprigs for garnish
1/4 tsp dried mint
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 + 1/2 cups frozen peas (8 ounces), thawed, plus more for garnish
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch of cayenne pepper, or more, to taste
olive oil spray, for coating griddle
In a medium bowl, mix the 3/4 cup of yogurt with the chopped parsley, tarragon and mint and season with salt and black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the herbed yogurt until chilled, at least 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, blanch the peas until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Drain well and let cool.
In a food processor, mix cooked peas with egg, egg yolk, cream and 1/4 cup yogurt, and process until smooth. Add the flour, lemon zest, baking powder, cardamon, and cayenne pepper. Process a minute or so more, stopping to clean the sides of the bowl midway through.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle. Spray the surface with olive oil, and spoon 1-tablespoon mounds of batter into the skillet and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer the pancakes to a platter and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve the warm pancakes topped with the herbed yogurt and garnished with peas and herb sprigs.
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Comments: This recipe was originally designed to make 18 tiny rounds, but I made 6 medium-sized pancakes. They were absolutely delicious, great texture, moist, tender, and with that perfectly bright taste of green peas. The lemon zest, as usual, adds a lot of spark to the flavor. I loved the herb yogurt, Phil preferred to enjoy his pancakes without adornment, or with a very light smear of butter. For my taste, the tarragon in the yogurt made this dressing a perfect match to the peas. Of course, if you are not too fond of tarragon, use another herb, I think fresh dill could be delicious too. I also enjoyed the contrast of the warm pancake with the cold dressing.
If you have a special dinner party coming up, think about these for your appetizer course. They would be amazing served just like small blinis, with some smoked salmon on top. They are very tasty at room temperature too, so play with different toppings and awe your guests! Probably other types of flour could be used, like almond or coconut, turning these babies into gluten-free entities.
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