This isn’t your usual pancake, but what it lacks in maple syrup, it make up for in…..beets? I knew this would be an easy sell. I know… how about we think of this as more of a frittata, but lighter, fluffier, and more pancake-y. How’s that?
Eggs are the saving grace of poor organization and planning habits in our kitchen. Breakfast is often last night’s dinner with an egg cracked on it, seasonal veggies in some form of baked egg pie makes a pretty sweet lunch, and I won’t even begin telling you about all my ways with hard-boiled eggs. As far as baked egg pies go, you’re probably familiar with quiches and frittatas, but today I want to introduce you to my favourite – the veggie pancake.
Because it’s January and we can probably all use a little more beets in our lives, I decided to make you a golden beet version. It’s delicious on its own, with a coffee for breakfast, or a green salad for lunch. Serving up a fancy brunch? Top it with some crème fraîche, smoked salmon, pickled shallots, and fresh dill. And my very favourite thing about having this on hand is just tucking a few slices into a ziplock bag (sans the toppings, of course) and into my purse. Classy, I know, but I promise that it’s great at room temperature and makes the most satisfying little on-the-go snack.
Leeks and grated golden beets are sautéed in butter, until sweet and delicate, then coated in a light buttermilk pancake batter and baked in a cast iron skillet. Once you get this method down, you’ll realize that there’s no limit to what kinds of vegetables you can start sneaking in there. It can be quite an adventure, especially if you ever give red beets a try. Hello, fuchsia pancakes!
- 3 Tbsp. of butter, divided
- 2 leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
- 3 medium golden beets, peeled and grated (yielding ~ 3 - 4 cups)
- 1.5 cups of buttermilk or kefir
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp. of baking powder
- 1/4 cup of crème fraîche
- 6 - 8 slices of smoked salmon
- a handful of fresh dill sprigs
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- a few tablespoons of white wine vinegar
- black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter in a large sauté pan over low-medium heat.
- Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and sauté for about 5 minutes, until soft. A little bit of caramelization is great, but be careful not to burn them.
- Add the grated beets and 1 tsp. of salt. Sauté with the leeks for about 10 minutes until the beets are soft and the volume of vegetables has been reduced significantly. Take the pan off the heat and cool for a few minutes.
- Whisk the eggs and buttermilk (or kefir) in a large bowl and combine the flour, baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. of salt in a smaller bowl.
- Add the beets to the wet ingredients, stir to combine, then add in the dry ingredients. Whisk gently or stir with a spoon until all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated.
- Heat a 10.25" cast iron skillet (9" or 12" skillets may work too, but baking times and pancake thickness will vary) and melt the remaining 1 Tbsp. of butter.
- Pour in the batter and level it out. Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, until the pancake is set and slightly golden.
- While the pancake is baking, make the quick-pickled shallots. Place them in a small bowl and pour over just enough vinegar to cover. Use your hand to separate the rings. Set them aside until ready to use.
- When the pancake is ready, remove if from the oven and let it rest and cool. It should be served warm or at room temperature, so time this accordingly, or reheat it in the oven if making ahead.
- When ready to serve, remove the shallots from the vinegar and pat them dry (reserve the vinegar for a deliciously fragrant salad dressing).
- Flip the pancake out of the skillet (serving it bottom-up) and top with dollops of crème fraîche, salmon, dill, shallots, and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve any remaining garnishes on the side.