I wanted to share this recipe for scallion pancakes, which falls under the category of amazing things you can make with just flour and water, including farinata and corn tortillas. I made these pancakes earlier this spring with some lovely shallot scapes from Open Oak Farm, but now you could make them with Sweetwater Farm's scallions, which are amazingly flavorful and hefty, and deserve a starring role on your table.
I remember when I sampled scallion pancakes as a teenager on my first visit to a Korean restaurant and I was intoxicated by their chewy, flaky texture. At the time, I thought these delicacies must involve many exotic ingredients, but now I realize that they are just flour and water and some special tricks for processing the dough. First, you use boiling water, which denatures the proteins in the flour and gives the dough a tougher, chewy consistency. Then to achieve the flakiness, you roll the dough flat, slick it with sesame oil, wind it into a snail shape, and flatten it again. You do this several times, incorporating the scallions in the last round.
Finally you fry the pancakes until crispy. These were a big hit with the whole family eaten piping hot with a soy dipping sauce. I was happy to introduce my kids to this Korean delicacy, demystified and delicious.
adapted from Serious Eats (makes 2 large pancakes)
For the dipping sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely sliced scallion greens
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
To prepare the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients and set aside.
For the pancake dough:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup boiling water
about 2 Tbsp sesame oil
1 cup chopped scallion greens
about 2 Tbsp vegetable oil for frying
salt to taste
1. Place the flour in the bowl of a food processor. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in about 3/4 of boiling water. Process for 15 seconds. If the dough does not come together and ride around the blade, drizzle in more water a tablespoon at a time until it just comes together. Transfer to a floured work surface and knead a few times to form a smooth ball. You can also mix the dough by hand and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Transfer to a bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature, or up to overnight in the fridge.
2. Divide the dough into two even pieces and roll each into a smooth ball. Working one ball at a time, roll out into a disk roughly 8-inches in diameter on a lightly floured surface. Using a pastry brush, paint a very thin layer of sesame oil over the top of the disk. Roll the disk up like a jelly roll, then twist roll into a tight spiral, tucking the end underneath. Flatten gently with your hand, then re-roll into an 8-inch disk. Paint with another layer of sesame oil, twist into a spiral, flatten gently, and re-roll into a 8-inch disc. Repeat the oiling, rolling, and flattening process a third time.
3. Now for the final rolling step, paint on the sesame oil and sprinkle the dough with 1/2 cup scallions, roll and twist again, flatten and re-roll into a 8-inch disk. Your first pancake is formed. Repeat the whole process with the second ball of dough to form the second pancake.
4. Heat oil in an 8-inch nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering and carefully slip pancake into the hot oil. Cook, shaking the pan gently until first side is an even golden brown, about 2 minutes. Carefully flip with a spatula or tongs (be careful not to splash the oil), and continue to cook, shaking pan gently, until second side is even golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Season with salt, cut into 8 wedges. Serve immediately with sauce for dipping. Cook the remaining pancake in the same way.