Pancakes don’t have to only be enjoyed on Shrove Tuesday. I save any spare batter for the next day, and continue the pancake feast into Ash Wednesday!
The versatility of the humble pancake is greatly under appreciated. For that one Tuesday a year, most people greedily spread Nutella, squeeze maple syrup, or sprinkle sugar across those crisp little circles. But they can be used for so much more! As a base ingredient, they are incredibly useful. Pancakes are essentially flavourless until you add the filling: it really is ‘what is on the inside that counts’! Although shop bought pancakes tend to add sugar for a sweet taste, pancakes that are homemade are generally plainer (as they I think they should be!). Because of this, you can create both sweet and savoury dishes. Forget chocolate and fresh fruit; think peppers, onions, tomatoes.
This recipe uses delicious Italian vegetables, like a pasta sauce. But the possibilities are endless! Chorizo and parmesan, smoky fish in a creamy sauce, garlicky mushrooms with cheese, ham and cheese, roast tomatoes, spinach and ricotta….
Ingredients (serves 1)
- Leftover batter from Shrove Tuesday OR * 1 medium egg
* Cup of flour
* Cup of milk
- ½ red onion, diced
- ½ courgette, thinly sliced
- ½ red pepper, diced
- ½ packet of ready-to-eat Puy lentils (made by Merchant) OR 200g of Cannellini beans, drained
- ½ jar passata, or homemade tomato sauce
- IF USING PASSATA: ½ tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- Oregano, to taste
- Cheese, to taste
- Remove leftover batter from the fridge. Melt butter in a large frying pan, ensuring that it is very hot! The pan must be hot before adding any butter.
- Add a small amount of batter to the middle of the pan. Turning the pan in a clockwise movement, spread the batter across its surface to cover the bottom of the pan. The batter should be in a circular ‘pancake’ shape. It should not be thick, but a thin like a French crepe. If needed, add more batter to ensure it can reach across the pan!
- Tease the outer rim of the pancake away from the edge of the pan using a spatula, running it around the circumference of the pancake.
- After 2-4 minutes, cook the other side of the pancake. If you’re brave, flip it! OR, wiggle the spatula under the pancake until you reach the middle, then lift slightly and turn it over. Cook the other side for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a roasting tin. Repeat until you have 3-4 pancakes.
- Then, in the same saucepan, heat a little oil. Fry the diced onion until soft, then add the red pepper. Sautee for 5 minutes, before adding the courgette and Puy lentils. If using the homemade tomato sauce, add and reduce to a simmer to warm through. If using a shop-bought jar, add and pour in the Balsamic vinegar. Reduce to a simmer.
- In the roasting tin, lay the pancakes flat. Place a spoonful of the tomato mixture in the middle of the pancake. Spread into a vertical line, so the mixture looks as if it is ‘dividing’ the pancake in two.
- Roll one side of the pancake tightly over to the middle, and then bring the other side over the top. It should now be rolled up with the mixture inside. If you place the ‘fold’ of the pancake (where the two sides meet) face down in the roasting tin, it will prevent it coming open during cooking! Do this by turning the rolled pancake over altogether.
- Repeat for all of the pancakes, before sprinkling with cheese. Place into a hot oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown. Serve with salad, and enjoy!