I adore savory pancakes, whether they come buckwheat-blini style, crammed full of corn and salty bacon, in the form of zucchini griddle cakes, or like these: delicately lemony with plenty of sweet peas and tender, buttery leeks.
The great thing about these fresh little pea and leek pancakes is that you can make them any time of year. But they are an especially pleasing fresh note when you grow tired of heavy winter fare.
I was inspired to make these by one of my favorite starters at Schmidt’s, a San Francisco German beer and sausage restaurant in the Mission. Mine include tender leeks and a good helping of lemon zest and herbs.
If you like, use sour cream instead of the crème fraiche. You can also flavor the crème fraiche or sour cream with more lemon zest or herbs. Make these vegetarian by omitting the smoked salmon. In the springtime, top them with a mound of pea shoots.
However you serve them, they are certain to be devoured quickly and with great relish. Enjoy!
Recipe: Sweet Pea Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Crème Fraiche
Makes about 22 bites
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 small leek, trimmed and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas (8 ounces), thawed
- 2 small green onions, very finely chopped
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, beaten together
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- Olive oil, for frying
- About 1/3 cup crème fraiche
- About 4 oz cold-smoked salmon
- Finely chopped fresh chives
- In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter. Add the leek and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the peas in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Let sit for 5 minutes then drain well.