I’m currently cooking my way through Mary Berry’s Complete Cook Book, which the Pragmatist gave/lent to me when I moved out for my first full-time job. I wanted to document the experience as a kind of cooking diary, and so “The English Student Cooks” was born. This will be an irregular feature, as I only cook when I’m home on my days off, which is Not That Often.
Creamy Seafood Pancakes
Method: First, I made the pancake batter: I made a well in 125g plain flour (in a bowl, obviously) and added one egg and the yolk of another as well as a little milk, and beat it all up to make a smooth and quite stiff batter. Then I added 300ml milk and left it to stand while I made the pancake filling.
I cut up one cod fillet into smallish cubes before frying half an onion and a small clove of garlic till the onion was soft. Then I remembered that I still had to go through the tremendous faff of peeling a couple of salad tomatoes (core, score an X on the base, plunge into boiling water for 15 seconds, plunge immediately into cold water, peel), so I did that rather hurriedly. Then I had to take the seeds out (which is another quite fiddly and messy job) and chop the flesh really small. Finally, I added the tomatoes, the cod and some dill to the onion and garlic (by this time slightly beyond soft) and cooked down for ten minutes, by which point the tomatoes had disintegrated and made a kind of thick sauce with the cod juices. Next, a 180g packet of cooked prawns and one and a half tablespoons of single cream went in, got heated for a bit and then just kept warm while I made the pancakes.
I hadn’t made pancakes before, and found the whole experience quite fun. It took a while to get the technique just right: how much of the batter to pour into the pan (enough to cover the bottom), how long to cook each side (about a minute), how hot the pan needs to be (quite hot). The last couple of pancakes were pretty good, though.
By this time I couldn’t be bothered with wrapping the filling in the pancakes, so I just dumped it on top of them (there were quite a few).
Substitutions/alterations: I kept the pancake batter quantities the same (it being quite difficult to use only half an egg), but halved the filling.
Verdict: The fish mixture, by some alchemy, comes out really rich and delicious; however, next time, I might take the prawns out, or reduce the quantity I use, as they tend to overwhelm the cod.
The pancakes were awesome. I don’t think you can really go wrong with a pancake short of burning it to a crisp.
This is one of the recipes I’m most likely to make again, I think – and the filling would even work separately from the pancakes.