Sunday Experiment

Earlier today I came across a video online at The New York Times.com. Mark Brittman was cooking up something he'd had in Spain called a Tortillita (it's so much fun to say, isn't it?). It's an egg-less pancake, of sorts, that he dotted with shrimp and used chickpea flour to make the batter. My pantry is pretty well-stocked, diverse, and international, but even I don't have chick pea flour just setting around.

I threw caution to the wind, turned a DVD on for the kids, and danced my way into a Sunday afternoon in the kitchen. After taking some Chocolate Covered Raisin cookie dough out of the frig to warm a bit (more on this recipe in a future post) for baking later, I set to making my version of a tortillita, that I've renamed: Southern-Style Pan-Cake (make sure you say pan with an accent, sorta like Paula Deen would, ok, ya'll?). Mr. Brittman's recipe was a great inspiration, but it turned into a totally different creature in the end.

This batter will look like a thin pancake or cornbread batter and, if you watch Mark Brittman's video, isn't quite as thin as his, being compared to heavy cream. Since I used a combination of corn meal and all-purpose flour, I doubled the amount of baking powder so it's scientific magic wouldn't be weighed down by the corn meal. I used a good quality canned salmon, minced green onions, & garlic. Then, after practicing my pan-flipping technique, I squeezed lemon wedges over its crispy exterior for a clean and fresh twang. All I can say, is that I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the kitchen today, experimenting, flipping, cooking, and eating a really yummy lunch.

My brain is spinning with the limitless possibilities this Southern Pan-Cake batter has inspired. If you use a super hot griddle, you could make mini pan-cakes for a cocktail party (roasted corn & shrimp, maybe?) or a sweet version using berries & lemon or apple & cheddar or pear-bacon-Gorgonzola. Also, they would make great vehicles, transporting all sorts of savory or sweet toppings on a ride to your mouth. Happy Sunday, ya'll!

Southern-Style Salmon Pan-Cakes
Yield: 4 pan-cakes/tortillitas (6-8 inches each)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 cups water
2 Tbsp. dried parsley
2 Tbsp. minced green onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup good quality canned salmon, drained
Lemon wedges, optional garnish
Peanut Oil, for cooking

Mix all the ingredients together, except the salmon. Let set for 5 minutes. Stir again and add more water, if needed, to make the batter more like a thin cornbread batter. Carefully stir in the salmon. In a 6 or 8-inch non-stick skillet, heat 3 Tbsp. peanut oil. Pour in the batter, about 6-8 ounces. Let it cook for 4 minutes on one side, then flip it to cook another 4 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges. Substitutions of any kind of meat or seafood may be used or neither. Feel free to use any kind of herb you like and any type of onion (shallot, red onion, chives, white/yellow onion, etc.). You can also turn this into a sweet pan-cake/tortillita by adding 1/4 cup sugar to the batter. As you can see, this batter is very versatile, but try not to use ingredients that will add more liquid to the batter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i am smiling with tears in my eyes reading your description of Carmen Bajo ... the trip was absolutely the BEST thing ... it was an amazing time with amazingly wonderful people ... the whole trip was so wonderful ... cant wait to go back and see the school!!
my life is richer for being there and having that experience.