San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)

Chickpea pancakes to savor

Lemony sour cream boosts these crispy cakes

- By Christian Reynoso is Christian Reynoso is a chef, recipe developer and writer. Originally from Sonoma, he lives in San Francisco. Email: food@sfchronicl­ Instagram: @christianr­eynoso Twitter: @xtianreyno­so

This may be an unpopular opinion, but pancakes just don’t do it for me. I’m sorry, but I’ve just had too many overly fluffy, stickyswee­t, syrupdrown­ed onenote pancakes, and as I age, they seem like a waste of precious gluten. I’d rather spend my sweet appetite on a slice of berrysplat­tered cake, textured waffles or even croissants — which aren’t really sweet at all. I admit, this is my problem and I probably have a mild case of sweettooth deficiency.

It’s not like I don’t like sweet, Americanas­tyle pancakes — I’m not a monster. It’s just that very few have been memorable. I’ve enjoyed a light, tangy lemon ricotta pancake with a drizzle of honey at Plow in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill, and I can still taste my dad’s crispy, brown butterfrie­d pancakes: He’d melt a fresh tab of butter over high heat, making the batter sizzle as it hit the pan, forming a dark brown nutty crust.

What I like about those pancakes is that they had a savory quality. As I’ve tried more pancakes in life, I usually focus my energy on the endless list of savory versions like the Chinese scallion, Korean kimchi, French crepe and the Italian chickpea flourbased Farinata.

This recipe for Crispy Chickpea Dill Pancakes is supposed to be an expression of everything I love about a savory pancake with a few nods to the sweet pancakes I’ve liked. They are super flavorful, textured, worthy of an anytime meal and not fussy. No need to make perfect rounds — a roundish shape will do.

I call for a mix of flours and egg that makes the pancakes lightish, but I also add smashed chickpeas for body and texture. Green garlic — edible shoots of immature garlic — is in season right now. Certain markets and farmers will have them, but if you can’t find any use chopped scallions with a couple cloves of mature (normal) garlic instead.

I could add sour cream to almost anything, and in this recipe I don’t even pretend to hold back. Besides the sour cream I put in the batter for richness and tang, I also make a lemony sauce to drizzle over the pancakes. It’s an incredibly simple sauce with just a few ingredient­s: lemon juice, chopped dill and a spicy serrano chile. The lemon juice thins out the cream and adds brightness to the crispy pancakes.

I keep saying that these pancakes are crispy, but you should know that these aren’t just crispy for texture. Cooking this batter in enough hot oil, which I’ve found to be about 1 tablespoon per cake, will also help concentrat­e flavor. It’s similar to caramelizi­ng onions or getting a good char on a burger. The high heat enhances the flavor of the pancake. So, with a little caution and an open mind, turn up the heat and use a little more oil than you might otherwise.

Avocados, which are also in season right now, add a luxurious texture to these rustic pancakes. They contrast well with the tangy, lemony sour cream sauce.

I’ve tasted these pancakes at almost every stage — the raw batter, hot off the pan, 5 minutes after and 20 minutes after. They are best between just cooked and 10 minutes after. However, they are totally snackable even after a few hours in the refrigerat­or. You can also reheat them in a 350degree oven. They lose their crispness so just make sure they have enough sauce that you don’t even care about that.

Going back in time to my younger self, I tried to fit in by ordering piles of pancakes with extra syrup because that’s what you’re supposed to like as a kid, right? But now that I fit in I don’t care ( just joking because what fitting in, anyway?) because these craveable, crispy chickpea pancakes accept me and I accept them.

 ?? Christian Reynoso ?? These chickpea dill pancakes make a delightful lunch or dinner.
Christian Reynoso These chickpea dill pancakes make a delightful lunch or dinner.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States