After this long weekend I think I am officially part girl, part dumpling, part hot dog, and part cheeseburger. Isn’t that the point of 3 days weekends that encourage you to frolic outside with all the grilled meats and mayo-y salads within arms reach?
How was your Memorial Day Weekend? Did you eat enough hot dogs or buy a new home appliance? Reuben and I spent the week like the hermits that we are. We ate a lot of good food, watched Season 7 of SVU, and went to the gym so the transition into part cheeseburger was a little less awkward. We did have a friend over for dinner and I practiced my dumpling teaching skills on her! I still have a few kinks to work out, but I have a couple more days until it’s showtime. The dumplings we made were excellent though and that’s all that really matters! Oh, oh, oh! The most exciting upgrade just happened to our apartment… no we don’t have a dishwasher or in-unit laundry… BUT we started a window planter with some wee bundles of thyme, oregano, and rosemary! They are SO CUTE. Plus we planted some really hot pepper plants, which I probably won’t be able to consume without a gallon of vanilla ice cream on standby. I’m so excited to be able to snip my own fresh herbs without even leaving the kitchen : )
Working on our micro urban garden, grilling all the edible things, and the super long days (it’s still light out at 8pm!) are making me so excited for Summer and all the foods that come with it. One of my favorite things to make during the summer is fresh pesto because the basil is so delicious and bountiful! The smell of fresh basil just makes me so happy. Unfortunately we didn’t get any basil to plant because the lighting options in our apartment wouldn’t be great for it. One day we will have a yard and it will be full of basil. Hopefully some Thai basil too!
The Magic of Scallion Pesto
These Scallion Pesto Pancakes are a great way to use up some of this season’s best aromatics! I think if you put basil, garlic, and scallions on anything it would taste good. A typical scallion pancake consists of a similar dough to dumpling wrappers, rolled out extra thin, brushed with sesame oil, and sprinkled with chopped scallions and a bit of five spice. It’s rolled up, twisted, and flattened into a disc and then cooked to flakey, crispy, and slightly doughy perfection. Instead of the classic filling, I added a swirl of scallion pesto. You’ll notice that I use pistachios in my pesto. You can use pinenuts, almonds, or even walnuts if you prefer. Pistachio is just our house nut, we always have some in the house so snacks or to add crunchiness to our salads. The recipe below will make a bit more pesto than you need for the pancakes, but extra pesto is not a bad problem to have. You can add the extra pesto to some pasta, chicken, vegetables, or a piece of toast. It’s so good! I do have to warm you though that the pesto is pretty garlicky and oniony so maybe don’t eat one of these before going on a first day.
Let’s talk about the anatomy of these pancakes for minutes. Different people have different scallion pancake preferences. Some really like them really thin and crunchy, some people like them thick and doughy, and some people like them light and flakey. In my world, the ideal scallion pancake is light and flakey on the outer rings and then get progressively doughier and chewier towards the center. It’s the best of all worlds! It’s hard to pick a favorite part, but if I had to choose it might be the very center nub. So chewy! Dipping the center of pancake into some chili oil is literally one of the best flavor combos ever! I highly encourage you just eat these with your hands and pull apart all the flakey layers in search of your part! Another way I like to eat these pancakes is with a fried egg and some hot sauce, sort of like a breakfast taco situation. Lots of tasty options!
Scallion Pesto Pancakes
makes 6 pancakes
scallion pesto materials:
4 scallion stalks - cut into 1” pieces
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup toasted pistachios or pinenuts
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour + more for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 warm water
olive oil for greasing and cooking
to make scallion pesto:
Add scallions, garlic cloves, pistachios, basil, fresh basil, and sesame oil in a food processor. Pulse for 20 seconds until mixture is crumbly and the basil has broken down. While the food processor is still running, slowly pour in olive oil. Blend until pesto is mostly smooth but with a few chunks. Store pesto in a jar and top with a bit of oil and store in the fridge until ready to use. This recipe makes a bit more pesto than you need for the pancakes. Add the extra pesto to pasta, vegetables, or toast!
to make pancakes:
Whisk flour and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly pour in the warm water and mix everything together with a spoon until the water has been absorbed. Dump the shaggy dough onto a clean work surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Dough may be a bit sticky. Dust with a bit more flour if too sticky. Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and add the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Lightly brush a clean work surface with olive oil so the dough doesn’t stick. Roll out one piece of dough into a thin roughly 6”x12” rectangle. Scoop 2 tbsp of pesto and spread a thin layer of pesto over the dough, leaving about 1.5” clear around the edges. Starting along the long edge of the dough, gently roll up the dough into a rope. Take the rope and roll into a coil. Take a small rolling pin and roll out the coil into a 4” diameter disc. A few of the layers will break and some pesto will squirt out, that’s okay! If its difficult to roll out the pancake on a stone work surface, try rolling out on a greased wooden cutting board. Place rolled out pancake on parchment lined baking tray dusted with a bit of flour. Repeat with remaining pancakes.
To cook pancakes, heat up up 1 tsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium to medium high heat. Once hot, add a pancake to the pan and flatten the dough a bit with a spatula. Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Flip and cook the other side for another 2-3 minutes. Place cooked pancake on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining pancakes.
Eat immediately with soy sauce or chili oil.