“Blech,” says Stuart Brioza when I bring up breakfast pancakes. He can’t stand them. There’s something about their texture, their consistency, the way they become weighty, syrup-laden orbs. “I never crave them.” But this doesn’t mean the San Francisco chef has turned his back on flapjacks. Quite the opposite. Inspired by his love of pan-seared, garnish-heavy, Korean-style savory pancakes, Brioza began playing with different batters at his restaurant State Bird Provisions and came up with a sourdough pancake laden with sauerkraut and pecorino and served with a generous glob of ricotta. Diners dug the bite-sized snacks so much that Brioza, as he does regularly with State Bird’s dim-sum style menu, began altering the recipe — folding everything from sweet corn and garlic chives to sea urchin with ginger and garlic.
Brioza started altering the batters, too, and currently serves a brioche-like yeasted buckwheat pancake grilled in clarified butter and topped with beef tongue and horseradish (whoa), as well as a stone ground seven-grain batter that houses everything from roasted squash and gruyere to aged cheddar and ham. They’ve even earned their own spot on the menu.
“I think they’re the perfect hors d’oeuvres,” says the James Beard Award–winning chef. Diners agree: The restaurant regularly serves between 150 and 200 pancakes a night. Brioza was cool enough to share one of his recipes with us. Whip up some for your next dinner party. After all, your guests deserve more pancakes and less prosciutto-wrapped melon. So do you.
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup sauerkraut, chopped
- 1/4 cup Pecorino cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- clarified butter, as needed
- pepper, as needed
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and water.
- Sift in flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until combined. The batter should look a little thicker than traditional pancake batter.
- Stir in the sauerkraut and pecorino.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat, add a little bit of butter, place 2 tablespoons of batter in the skillet and place 1 tablespoon of ricotta in the center of the pancake.
- Cook for about 30 seconds, flip over and cook until golden.
- Cook the first side again if needed. Both sides should be golden.
- Place on a serving platter and top with a small piece of cheese and some cracked black pepper.
- Serve immediately.
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