Flakey Chinese Pancakes with Chive Blossoms

Flaky Chinese Pancakes with Chive Blossoms

Chinese pancakes are usually made with green onions (scallions) but I love how chive blossoms’ purple petals give the pancakes a burst of color and add a delicate flavor reminiscent of garlic and onions. Chive blossoms resemble powder puffs and are unwieldy to eat whole. Before using them in dishes, remove their central stems first and then pull apart the florets/petals.

If you grow chives in your garden, you will have an abundance of these darling little blossoms. If not, you can often find chive blossoms at farmers markets at springtime. You can also experiment with whatever alliums catch your eye at the market: ramps, leeks, spring onions, etc.

Prep time: 20 minutes plus 30 minutes resting time

Cook time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4–6 as an appetizer

2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

⅔ cup (175 milliliters) just-boiled water

1 teaspoon fine sea salt plus more for sprinkling

1 to 2 tablespoons sesame oil

½ cup (50 grams) chopped chives and chive blossom petals

Vegetable oil for frying

Dipping Sauce

Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Slowly pour in the water, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the sides as you go. The dough will look like cheese curds. When the dough is cool enough to handle, knead into a ball with your hands. If the dough is still dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time until it just comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until it forms a smooth, soft ball and is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed. Lightly oil a bowl to prevent sticking and place the ball inside. Cover with a damp towel and rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Lightly flour your work surface again and turn the dough out. Knead for another 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball.

Roll out one ball into a disk roughly 7 inches (17.5 centimeters) in diameter with a rolling pin. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and roll over the salted dough. Brush with a thin layer of sesame oil. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chives and chive blossoms all over the dough, leaving a ½-inch (1-centimeter) border on the edge. Roll the disk up like a jelly roll, then coil into a tight snail-like spiral, tucking the end under.

Flatten the spiral gently with your palm and roll it out again, this time into a ¼-inch- (0.5-centimeter)-thick pancake about 6 inches (15 centimeters) in diameter. If the chives start to poke out of the dough just tuck them back in. Set the finished pancake aside and repeat with the remaining dough. (Pancakes can be made ahead. Stack between layers of parchment paper and refrigerate for a few hours before frying.)

Prepare a paper-towel-lined plate or a rack over a baking sheet.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in an 8-inch (20-centimeter) nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering hot. Fry the pancakes 1 at a time until golden brown and crispy on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully flip with a spatula, swirl in 1 teaspoon oil and cook until the second side is golden brown, another 1 to 2 minutes. Jiggle the pan once in awhile. (Someone told me that this creates a flakier pancake. I’m not sure it works but it doesn’t hurt to try!) Transfer to the plate to soak up excess oil and cover to keep warm while you make the rest of the pancakes. Repeat. (Tip: Cast-iron skillets retain heat very well so adjust the heat and cook time as necessary.)

Cut each pancake into 6 wedges, sprinkle with more salt (optional) and serve immediately with Dipping Sauce.

Notes:

·      To freeze, stack pancakes between layers of parchment and wrap securely in plastic wrap or foil. Cook from frozen, 2 to 3 minutes longer on each side.

·      Reheat cooked pancakes in a 450°F (230°C) oven for 4 to 5 minutes.

Dipping Sauce

¼ cup (60 milliliters) soy sauce

¼ cup (60 milliliters) rice vinegar

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon finely sliced green onions, green parts only

Whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl until the sugar dissolves.

 

Marinated Eggplant in Orange Blossom Water

by Maydan DC 

Betenjen Wardeit Leymoun

Photo by Jennifer Chase

Photo by Jennifer Chase

Serves 6.

  • 2 eggplants (1inch dice)
  • 1 red onion (sliced thinly)
  • 3 cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Parsley leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt to taste

In a large sauté pan, roast the eggplant over medium high heat using ¼ cup of the olive oil until well browned. Remove from heat to a plate and reserve.

Warm the olive oil remaining in the pan and add the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, and garlic. Lightly sauté until translucent. Add the orange blossom water, honey and vinegar. Add back the eggplant, and season to taste. 

Cool the mixture. Garnish with parsley leaves.


Maydan is scheduled to open this fall at 1346-B Florida Ave. NW; maydandc.com. Compass Rose is located at 1346 T St. NW; compassrosedc.com.

Spiralized Beet Salad with Saffron Citronette and Candied Almonds

Sponsored by Balducci's Food Lovers Market

BeetPoke3.jpg

Spring has sprung at the farm markets. Now’s the time to fill a shopping bag full of tender lettuces, herbs, asparagus and spring onions. What about a fresh beet salad from Balducci’s Chef Jason Miller?

What's in Season:

  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli raab
  • Cilantro
  • Collards
  • Dill
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Mesclun mix
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Sage
  • Sorrel
  • Spinach
  • Summer squash
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips

Our culinary team has been working hard to open our wonderful new store in Reston Town Center, where customers can find restaurant quality chef-prepared options along with the gourmet groceries and quality meats and cheeses that they’ve come to expect from Balducci's. We've also developed new spring recipes that you can make at home or pick up freshly prepared from the Balducci’s team. I've been focusing on beets lately; such a great example of seasonal, spring produce that’s bursting with color and nutrition. Find whole or spiralized beets in any of our Balducci's produce sections. This new recipe uses spiralized beets and it’s a staff favorite— terrific alongside grilled meats or fish. – Chef Jason Miller, Corporate Executive Chef at Balducci’s Food Lover’s Market.

Spiralized Beet Salad with Saffron Citronette and Candied Almonds

Serves 4–6

  • 1 pound spiralized beets (made fresh in-store)
  • 1 cup fennel, sliced thin, reserving fronds for garnish

Saffron Citronette

  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon Balducci’s fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ shallot, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Candied Almonds

  • 1 cup blanched slivered almonds
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tablespoon butter, softened
  • Parchment paper

Make the candied almonds by covering a baking sheet with parchment paper and spreading the softened butter on top of the paper; set aside. In a small saucepot, add the sugar and water, stir to dissolve and cook over medium-high heat until lightly golden. Add the slivered almonds and stir to coat completely. Pour onto the greased parchment paper, spreading apart and allowing to cool. Break apart the almonds once cooled.

Next, make the citronette by adding all ingredients in a small bowl and whisking until combined. Set aside to rest. Slice the fennel on a mandoline slicer, reserving the fronds. Next, combine the thinly sliced fennel in a large bowl with the spiralized beets and prepared citronette, allowing to them to marinate for a few minutes. To serve, top with fennel fronds and candied almonds.