Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A scallion-less scallion pancake taken even further from its Chinese roots

In my Washington Post “Cooking Off the Cuff” column last week, I wrote about a Chinese-style scallion pancake made with spring garlic in place of the scallions: I said there that by tinkering with the fat/oil used to make and fry the pancake you could move it further from its Asian roots.

Here’s an example that we had with drinks earlier this evening. The dough is the same, but I brushed the rolled-out surface with olive oil rather than lard, and I seasoned it with sage and black pepper in addition to the chopped spring garlic and crunchy salt.

And of course I fried it in olive oil too; otherwise, it was the same as the pancake I describe in the column. It smelled great as it cooked (but then it did in peanut oil and lard too – it’s the aroma of caramelizing alliums is what it is), and - although it evoked a normal scallion pancake - it did indeed taste not-Chinese.

It reminded me of a crisper, flakier version of the fried dough – gnocco fritto – they serve in Emilia-Romagna with prosciutto and other cured meats. In fact, it would be a pretty good alternative to that if you wanted something crunchy and greasy to accompany a salumi platter. Though it would take pretty amazing salumi to hold their own against this treat.

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