What I'm cooking and eating

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Galettes au sarrasin (buckwheat pancakes)

Buckwheat pancakes are what you get for your main course in a French creperie - usually filled with things like grated Emmenthal, ham and a fried egg (galette complete). I absolutely adore them, and although I have just discovered that we have a creperie called Brick Box in Brixton market, I have never been there. We did go to a creperie in Lille last weekend, though.

I have long wanted to try making my own, and even bought some buckwheat flour when I was in France in May, but somehow never got round to it. I find making pancakes difficult, and never do except on Shrove Tuesday. But I decided it was feeble not to use the flour I'd bought, and we had a friend staying, so I gritted my teeth and googled for recipes. This one was the easiest and simplest of them all. I adapted it for 3 people, as follows:

200 g buckwheat flour (you can buy this at Wholefoods Market, I believe, and maybe even in Sainsbury's or Waitrose)
1/2 teaspoonful salt
500 ml cold water
1 egg

Whisk all this together and let it stand for up to 2 hours (frankly, I only let it stand 10 minutes). You think at first that it's going to be far too thin, but it isn't. I suspect that my vegan friends could leave the egg out without too many problems.

Heat a large frying-pan and grease it very lightly. Pour a ladleful of batter and juggle the pan so it covers the whole surface. Let it cook until it's nearly set on the top, then flip it over with a spatula to cook the other side. The smoke alarm will probably go off, but don't let that worry you! Put the galette on a plate or something in a low oven to keep warm, and repeat until all the batter is used up. I made 3 pancakes that were probably slightly thicker than is ideal, but they were very good.

I didn't dare try the traditional filling with an egg, plus it would have taken too long for the 3 of us, so instead I fried up some lardons, then added some vegetables and tomato sauce left over from the previous evening's meal. Smeared this mixture over the pancakes, added some goats' cheese, and folded them in half, then served with a very simple lettuce-cucumber-tomato salad. Delicious!