If a recipe comes from Kim O'Donnel, you already know a few things about it. It's going to taste like heaven, you're going to be able to nail it in your own home kitchen, and it's going to celebrate the freshness of the season. The chef, teacher, and cookbook author has dedicated her career to as she says, "keeping the spirit of cooking alive, one crumb at a time." In her latest book PNW Veg, which comes out May 9, O'Donnel's focus hones in on the local bounty of her beloved Pacific Northwest, and makes those special flavors accessible to home cooks, no matter where they live.
O'Donnel's herb-packed spinach pancakes use chickpea flour as an earthy base for this brunch-entertaining-friendly dish that can easily be made the day before and reheated when company arrived. The feta "butter" is whipped with red pepper flakes, oregano, and lemon juice for a zesty, silky spread you'll want to use on everything from this breakfast to straight out of the jar. Make extra to dollop on vegetables, bread, heck—your arm. It's just that good. If you're feeling super-hospitable, you might even send guests home with little jars of it to enjoy it at home.
Spinach Pancakes with Feta “Butter”
Photo courtesy Sasquatch Books
KITCHEN NOTES: Make the feta “butter” first or in advance (it deepens in flavor on the second day). It makes about 3⁄4 cup but can easily be doubled. Choose a feta that you really enjoy; my preference is one made from sheep’s milk, which is more pungent and flavorful.
When it comes to the pancake batter, you’re looking for that sweet spot between thin and thick—a consistency more like buttermilk versus milk.
Copyright 2017 by Kim O’Donnel. All rights reserved. Excerpted from PNW Veg by permission of Sasquatch Books.
For the feta "butter"
1⁄2 cup feta
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the pancakes
1 cup chickpea flour (also sold as gram or garbanzo flour)
1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
3⁄4 cup water
4 cups spinach, stemmed and finely chopped
1⁄2 cup leafy herbs: dill, cilantro, mint, parsley, or basil, stemmed and roughly chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 to 3 large eggs
Neutral oil, for frying
1⁄2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
Chopped kalamata olives
Diced sweet red bell pepper
How to Make It
To make the feta “butter,” place the feta, oil, oregano, and red pepper flakes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times. Add 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice gradually, processing until well blended. Taste for acidity, adding more lemon juice as needed. Scoop into a lidded jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
In a large bowl, combine the chickpea our, salt, baking powder, and oregano. Add the water and whisk with a fork until well blended. Add the spinach, herbs, lemon zest,and pepper, and mix until well coated. Stir in 2 of the eggs until they are well integrated into the batter; the consistency should be slightly thick yet still pourable.If too thick, add the remaining egg.
Over medium-high heat, preheat an 8-inch nonstick or cast- iron skillet; the skillet isready when a bead of water vaporizes upon contact. Generously brush the skillet with oil. Using a 1⁄4-cup measuring cup, pour the batter into the pan, cooking the pancakes one at a time. (A 12-inch skillet will accommodate 2 pancakes simultaneously.) Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and cook the second side for an additional 3 minutes or so. The pancakes will turn golden and become sturdy when cooked through.
Transfer the pancakes to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm and prevent them from drying out. (Alternatively, you can keep them warm in a 225-degree-F oven.) Continue cooking the remaining batter, brushing the skillet with oil before each pancake.
Serve the pancakes smeared with the feta “butter” (it’s fun to make a short stack as with breakfast pancakes) and top with desired garnishes. The pancakes reheat nicely for a next-day snack.
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