I have September 17th marked on my calendar. It’s the date we thought* reservations for State Bird Provisions, Bon Appétit’s 2012 Best New Restaurant, would open up for when we’ll be in San Francisco next month.
The restaurant’s namesake dish is California state bird with provisions (fried quail with pickled veggies), but there’s an entire section on the menu devoted to savory pancakes & we’ve heard that they. are. good.
So their menu must have been on our minds when we chose this savory pancake dish for our week hosting The Food Matters Project. Welcome, everyone!
Mark Bittman’s Food Matters version leans much more heavily on the veggies, as opposed to simply adding a lot of greens to a pretty standard batter, which proved to be a little tricky in getting the texture just right.
The first two pancakes ended up a crumbly mess, but adding more of the reserved edamame cooking liquid (a lot more than I thought we’d need) remedied the problem & the rest of the pancakes turned out beautifully, housing all the umami flavor of an Asian dumpling, but with a crisp exterior. In fact, smaller pancakes would make a killer appetizer.
*Turns out, either State bird’s reservation policy has changed since the last time I looked, or I managed to mark down the wrong date & now the first available date for dinner is November the 7th. ::sigh:: I guess we’ll take our chances as a walk-ins. Fingers crossed we get a spot at the Chef’s counter.
EDAMAME CAKES WITH SOY DRIZZLING SAUCE
1/4 soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar or sake
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar*
1 teaspoon garlic, minced, optional
1 teaspoon ginger, minced, optional
2 cups fresh or frozen edamame
1/2 cup sliced scallions
whole wheat, brown rice, or all purpose flour, as needed
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
vegetable oil, for frying
1. Heat oven to 200°. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, half the sesame oil, sugar & garlic & ginger if you’re using them, in a small bowl.
2. Add the edamame to the boiling water & cook until tender, 5-10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
3. Transfer the beans to a food processor & pulse a couple of times to break them down, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, egg & scallions. Process until combined, but not finely puréed; you want a thick batter with some texture that drops from a spoon. If the mixture is too stiff, stir in a little of the reserved cooking liquid; if too wet, add a little flour. Sprinkle with salt & pepper & stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
4. Put a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. When a few drops of water dance on its surface, add a thin film of oil. Working in batches, spoon on the batter, making any size pancakes you like. Cook until the top sets & the bottom is browned, about 4 minutes. Turn & cook the other side for a couple minutes more. Keep the finished griddle cakes in the warm oven while you finish the others. Serve hot or at room temperature with the soy drizzling sauce.
*we ended up adding 1 teaspoon of brown sugar in addition
from The Food Matters Cookbook
Don’t forget to check in with the rest of the Food Matters Project participants to see what they did with this dish!