Make Ahead

Spinach pancakes with mint-yogurt sauce

January  3, 2011
Author Notes

This is one of several dishes I cooked for friends this year for New Year's Eve. It seemed appropriate, given that both cooked greens and coin shaped things are considered lucky, to try making little spinach pancakes. And, since I had a bunch of fresh mint in the refrigerator, I whipped up a tangy yogurt sauce to go with them. They work as a little hors d'ouevres for a party (the recipe is easy to double for more people), or even as a light main dish for a couple people. —fiveandspice

  • Makes about 10-12 little pancakes
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek-style (thick) yogurt (full fat)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1 clove of garlic, very finely minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 11 ounces or so, of fresh spinach
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 medium, free range eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil for frying
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, lime juice, lime zest, garlic, and mint leaves. Put in the refrigerator - allowing flavors to combine - until you're ready to serve the pancakes. You may need to give the sauce a little stir before serving, as the lime juice likes to separate out.
  2. Wash the spinach and if necessary remove some of the stems. Then put the spinach in a large sautee pan with a sprinkling of water, cover, and cook over medium heat (stirring a few times) until the spinach is wilted. This will only take a couple of minutes. Plop the cooked spinach into a colander and let it cool down so you can handle it.
  3. Once it is cool, use your hands and squeeze out as much of the liquid from the spinach as possible. Then chop the spinach up well and set aside.
  4. Heat your tablespoon of butter in a sautee pan over medium-high until it is foaming. Stir in the chopped onion and cook until it has gotten nicely browned. Then turn the heat down very low and allow to cook for about 3-5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, to get them a bit caramelized.
  5. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, eggs, milk, 2 Tbs. olive oil, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Stir in the spinach and onion until all combined. This should give you a rather thick and quite green batter. (For fluffier pancakes, you can separate the eggs, whisking in the yolks with the other ingredients, then beating the whites until stiff and folding them in as the last ingredient after everything else is combined. I like the pancakes both ways.)
  6. Pour enough olive oil into a large sautee pan to coat the bottom. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is shimmering. Drop heaping spoonfuls (about 2 Tbs.) of batter into the pan, then press each mound down with a spatula to make smallish, flat pancakes. Cook until the bottom sides have turned golden brown, then flip and cook another couple minutes. Transfer the pancakes to a serving platter (if needed, keep warm in a 200F oven) and continue frying - using more olive oil as needed- until all the batter is used up. Serve the pancakes accompanied with the mint-yogurt sauce for generously smearing them with.
  7. And, I think you'll be happy to know that sparkling wine goes quite nicely with these little treats!

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Review
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.