I was glad to find out that despite of the harsh winter, fresh corn season is here. As I’ve made a pretty large batch of herbs, almonds and citrus zest pesto, I’ve decided to combine the two in these tasty, savory pancakes.Since I’ve used Kefir in the batter, I’ve decided to also use it in its fresh form, in a quick tangy-herby dressing for the pancakes.
If you’re into savory pancakes, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this special combination of flavors and aromas.
A few notes:
The corn: see THIS POST for tips about cooking fresh corn. If you can’t get fresh corn, frozen and thawed is the next best option. In fact, quite a few researches claim that frozen vegetables and fruits have higher nutritional values than some of the produce we find at the stores, as they are frozen very soon after picking.
The Pesto: even though many people refer to Pesto as a paste made primarily of basil and pine nuts, pesto can be made from any herbs and nuts. So mix and match according to your personal preferences.
For this recipe, you can also use good quality store bought pesto. The flavor will, obviously, be different, but that’s part of the fun.
I prefer not to add cheese to the pesto, as it keeps better without it. The cheese can be added before using.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink, highly popular in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. Its’ texture is similar to buttermilk, but the taste is more acidic, which I personally prefer. It is considered to be healthier than buttermilk or yogurt, so that’s an added bonus. It is becoming more popular in the US, therefore easier to find. However, if you can’t find it, you can substitute with same amount of buttermilk, or yogurt (thinned with a bit of water).
Corn Pesto Pancakes
Prep time: 10 minutes
Frying time: 10 minutes
1 cup fresh, lightly cooked corn kernels (or frozen, thawed))
2 XL eggs
½ cup Kefir or buttermilk
2 Tbs prepared Pesto (preferably from the recipe below)
½ cup flour
½ tsp baking powder
1/3 cup fine grind cornmeal
Salt and pepper to taste (remember, the pesto is already seasoned)
3-4 Tbs oil for frying
1. In a food processor with the metal blade, process the corn kernels briefly, just to break down the kernels a bit. (Or chop them roughly with a knife.)
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the Kefir. Add the pesto and mix well. Add the flour and baking powder and whisk briefly to a smooth batter.
3. Add the corn and the cornmeal, salt and pepper, and mix until just combined.
4. Heat 2 Tbs oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Pour about 2 Tbs batter portions and fry the pancakes until golden on both sides, adding oil if needed. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels, to absorb the oil.
5. Serve warm, as is, or with the Pesto-Kefir dressing on the side.
Pesto Kefir Dressing
In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbs good quality mayonnaise, ½ cup Kefir (or buttermilk) and 1 Tbs Pesto. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. If not using Kefir, add a few drops of lemon juice.
Herbs, Almonds and Citrus zest Pesto
The addition of citrus zest to the pesto was inspired by the wonderful Italian “Gremolata” mixture, which contains parsley, garlic, lemon and orange zest, and is traditionally sprinkled over Osso Buco. I find it adds a lot of flavor to the pesto. Try it at least once and decide for yourself.
* I prefer not to add cheese to the pesto, as it keeps better without it. The cheese can be added before using. For this recipe, I didn’t add any, as I thought it would mask the flavors.
* It’s worth it to prepare a large batch, as the uses for the pesto are endless beyond adding it to cooked pasta: add a teaspoon to a bowl of soup to get a fresh flavor, spread it on bread for tastier sandwiches, spread it over foccacia before baking, add to salad dressing, to omelets, to egg or tuna salads or to tomato and avocado salad…
Makes: about 3 cups
In a food processor with the metal blade, place 4 cups of fresh mixed herbs (I used basil, parsley, tarragon, cilantro and mint). Add 1 1/3 cups blanched almonds, 4 cloves garlic, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 Tbs lemon zest. 2 Tbs orange zest, 1 Tbs salt and ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper. Blend all together, scraping the sides of bowl a few times. Transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.(Placing a piece of plastic wrap on top will help keep the green color.)