Julia Sherman doesn't do brunch. In fact, there's a whole chapter in her new cookbook, Salad for President: A Cookbook Inspired by Artists, called "F*%k Brunch." But as Sherman explains in the introduction to this section of breakfast-friendly salad recipes, she's not anti-brunch. Instead, she clarifies, "This chapter is a rejection of the American tradition of waiting in line for the meal that is the easiest and most rewarding to prepare at home." And her recipe for Japanese green onion pancake with spicy cabbage slaw couldn't be a more approachable breakfast salad.
Sherman was inspired to create this recipe after a trip to Japan. "When I first tried the beloved late-night party dish okonomiyaki in Osaka, I couldn't help but want to make it more salad-y," she writes. Traditionally, okonomiyaki is a pan-fried savory pancake with cabbage cooked into the batter. But in Sherman's salad-y version, "we keep the cabbage fresh, tossed in a spicy mayo dressing, and pile it on top of the pancake."
So sure, this green onion pancake with cabbage slaw isn't strictly traditional—in terms of either Japanese okonomiyaki or an American-style salad—but it's certainly delicious. And if there's anyone who's going to charm you to eat salad for breakfast, it's Sherman. "This is the food that gets me out of bed in the morning," she writes, and calls it "brunch seen through salad-colored glasses."
Japanese Green Onion Pancake with Spicy Cabbage Slaw
For the pancakes
½ cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
½ cup (60 grams) rice flour, or more if needed
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup (180 milliterse) dashi or low-sodium chicken stock
4 tablespoons tamari, plus more for dipping
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup (55 grams) sliced scallions (0.25-inch slices)
Grapeseed or coconut oil
1 teaspoon tiny freeze-dried shrimp (optional)
¼ cup (5 grams) bonito
For the cabbage slaw
1 tablespoon mayonnaise or full-fat Greek yogurt for the mayo-averse
2 teaspoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
0.25 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ green cabbage (about 250 grams), cored and thinly sliced on a mandolin
½ teaspoon sea salt
How to Make It
Make the pancake batter. In a medium bowl, combine the flours and salt, then add the dashi, tamari, and eggs and whisk until all the lumps disappear. It should be the consistency of thin, smooth yogurt; whisk in a little more rice flour if needed. Add the scallions and set the batter aside.
Make the cabbage slaw. In a salad bowl, combine the mayonnaise, Sriracha, lime juice, oil, and garlic and whisk to combine completely. Add the cabbage to the bowl and toss to coat. Season with sea salt.
Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Heat a medium sauté pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat with 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil until it is shimmering. Stir the pancake batter and pour one ladleful into the pan. If using freeze-dried shrimp, sprinkle a few of them onto the pancake while it is still runny. Cook on the first side until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the pancake and cook on the second side for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer the cooked pancake to a baking sheet and pop it into the oven to keep warm while you prepare the remaining pancakes, adding 1⁄2 teaspoon oil to the pan each time.
When all the pancakes are finished, remove them from the oven to individual plates. Top each with a generous pinch of bonito flakes, and serve each one with cabbage slaw piled on top and extra tamari on the side for dipping.