It's rare for me to find a pancake that satisfies. Let me clarify: whenever I go out to brunch, the first thing that leaps out at me are the pancakes. The idea of pancakes are always enticing—soft, fluffy discs of flour ladled with a generous helping of maple syrup and garnished with bananas? How can that not be appealing? Yet more often than not, I leave the table dissatisfied, remembering that the reason I'm not a huge fan of pancakes to begin with is that they're too light for my tastes and never really fulfill my hunger level (either that, or I fall into an unhappy, rather uncomfortable food coma from consuming too many to try and satisfy my need to eat something dense).
Now I'm thinking maybe I should stick to the savory pancake variations, and switch up the regular flour for something with a bit more substance, like buckwheat flour. This recipe for buckwheat pancakes with smoked salmon and dilled yogurt cheese sounds like just the ticket, not to mention that it's probably better for me without all the butter and sugar.
- For the Yogurt Cheese
- 2 cups plain low-fat yogurt*
- 2 tablespoons scissor-snipped fresh chives or minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- * Allow at least 1 hour to drain the yogurt for cheese.
- For the Pancakes
- 1/2 cup toasted (kasha) or untoasted buckwheat groats, or 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup scissor-snipped fresh chives or thinly sliced scallion greens
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup 2% milk
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled
- Safflower or canola oil, for greasing the griddle
- 6 to 8 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into 2-inch pieces
1. To make the yogurt cheese: Spoon the yogurt into a fine-meshed strainer set over a bowl. Set aside for 1 to 4 hours to drain. (The longer you drain the yogurt, the thicker it will become.) Transfer the drained yogurt to a bowl and blend in the chives and dill. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
2. To make the pancakes: If using groats, grind them to a fine flour in a spice grinder. In a large bowl, combine the buckwheat flour with the whole-wheat flour, chives, dill, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Blend in the buttermilk, 1/2 cup milk, and butter.
4. Make a large well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the buttermilk mixture. Use a spatula to gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry to create a slightly lumpy batter. Avoid overmixing, which can make the pancakes gummy.
5. If you plan to hold the pancakes to serve all at once, preheat the oven to 200°F.
6. Heat a large griddle or skillet over medium heat. Use a silicone brush or paper towel to lightly coat the griddle with oil. When a drop of water thrown on the griddle sizzles, pour 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle for each pancake, leaving space in between for the pancakes to spread. If the batter is too thick to pour easily, stir in a few more tablespoons of milk.
7. When the pancakes become slightly dry around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes, flip them. Cook until brown on the second side, 1 to 2 additional minutes. Lower the heat if the pancakes are browning too quickly, leaving the inside raw or doughy.
8. To keep the pancakes warm, place them in a single layer on a rack in the oven. To serve, set a piece of salmon on top of each pancake and top with a dollop of yogurt cheese. Serve immediately.