The September 2016 issue of Portland Monthly has a feature on Portland's food scene history and features a few classic recipes. One of the recipes is for Henry Thiele's German Pancake, which is legendary in this town. (Unfortunately for me, his restaurant closed in 1990, 6 years before I arrived, so I never had the pleasure). Fortuitously, I was reading the article after having thought about the tomato showstopper contest theme. The two things melded in my mind: How would a savory, tomato-filled "Dutch baby" work? As luck would have it—pretty dang well! (NB: I call for tomato leaves in this recipe, which are edible and help reinforce the tomato flavor of the dish. If you don't have access, then omit them and increase the basil, or add another herb or two you like with tomatoes, like oregano or thyme. If you are afraid of eating tomato leaves check out this article by Harold McGee: http://www.nytimes.com... ) —hardlikearmour
Test Kitchen Notes
Great flavor and I loved the balance of acid, sweet, and savory. The feta was the cherry on top, since it added the right amount of salt. The recipe calls for one lemon but I wound up buying one of those huge Frankenlemons and then wondered if I added way too much zest to the dressing (which was a perfect ratio otherwise and not too wet). The amount of zest worked well in the end and wasn't overpowering, but a measurement in the instructions would have been helpful. The pancake took about 22ish minutes to cook through at 425° F. I think the tomatoes weighed it down a bit by adding extra liquid to the batter while cooking and thus preventing it from rising all the way in the center. The next time I make this, I might halve and then roast the cherry tomatoes beforehand, to remove more of the liquid while maintining the tomato flavor. I think that way it wouldn't impede on the fluffiness. But this was spot-on flavorwise! —Omeletta
- Makes 2 one-dish meals, or 8 appetizer portions
generous pint cherry tomatoes
medium garlic clove
Freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil (one for salad dressing)
Several tomato leaves (omit if you don't have access)
A sprig or two basil (extra if you don't have tomato leaves)
olive oil (one for cooking, or substitute with avocado or other high heat oil)
1 1/2 to 2 ounces
- Pre-heat oven to 425º F with a 10-inch cast iron skillet on a rack set near the center.
- While skillet is preheating wash the cherry tomatoes. Sort them into 2 groups with about 3/4 of the middle-sized ones (for the skillet) in one group and the remaining largest and smallest in another (for the finished dish).
- Zest the lemon and microplane about half of the garlic clove into a small bowl. Juice the lemon and add 1 tablespoon to the bowl. Add 2 generous pinches kosher salt, and 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper. Whisk to combine. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil while whisking. Mince a generous tablespoon each of the tomato leaves and basil (or generous 2 tablespoons basil if you don't have tomato leaves). Whisk into the dressing, and set aside.
- Remove skillet from oven and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Carefully add the middle-sized tomatoes to the skillet. They will spatter so do this wearing an oven mitt. In a minute or two the spattering will cease; sprinkle the tomatoes with 2 or 3 pinches of salt. Place the skillet back in the oven until the tomatoes have started to soften and split, about 5 to 6 minutes. (This may generate some smoke, so have your ventilation fan running.)
- Combine the milk, eggs, flour, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in blender. Blend for 30 seconds. (Tip: If you have an Oster brand blender a regular mouth Mason jar will work in place of the blender jar. Just add the ingredients to the jar, screw on the blade and base, and blitz away. It is great for blender drinks like smoothies as you can easily drink from the jar.)
- Remove skillet from the oven and pour the egg mixture in, spreading the tomatoes fairly evenly as you pour. If you have any major tomato free areas, you may quickly use a fork to adjust their placement. Place the skillet back in the oven, and bake until the pancake is puffed throughout and browning on the edges, about 15 minutes.
- While the pancake is baking, halve or quarter the remaining larger tomatoes. Crumble the feta. Re-whisk the dressing.
- Cut the pancake into 6 to 8 slices, then arrange the slices on a serving platter or individual plates. Scatter the tomatoes and feta over the slices. Drizzle on the dressing, and if desired grind some black pepper over it. Serve.