It took me a while to figure out what to do with the recipe since we didn’t have any of the “something special” ingredients (no scallops, chicken, shrimp, squid, pork chop, steak, nor tofu) that Mark Bittman suggested to sear and place on top of the salad. We didn’t have any corn tortillas to throw in either. After some mulling, I decided to use canned crabmeat to pair with the salad and make my own corn tortillas. The crabmeat happened and it was awesome. The corn tortilla however was initially a disaster.
Once in your lifetime you come across a special person who still loves you even after you have a meltdown over corn tortilla dough that is not coming together. He stops doing an important task that he is attending to, patiently opens a cookbook, tries to find an alternate solution, tells you to calm down and stop yelling at the food, and gives you advice.
What started out as a plan for homemade corn tortillas turned into tamale pancakes. Not sure what that really is but that’s what I’m calling these pancakes. Desperation and frustration followed by some talking through with your better half is the mother of invention. These pancakes are slightly sweet, delicious, grainy, and heavy! Perfect cure for meltdowns… Who cares about corn tortillas? These pancakes rock!
2 cups corn meal1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
3 pinches of salt
2 ¼ cups water, lukewarm
1 tbsp honey
butter for greasing the skillet
Whisk the corn meal, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour in the water and stir until well combined. Stir in the honey until well incorporated. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, grease the skillet with a generous pat of butter. As soon as the butter sizzles off, drop ¼ cup of the batter into the skillet. When the batter starts to form holes, carefully flip the pancake and cook the other side for a couple of seconds. The pancake is done when the underside turns golden.
Jenn has the original Mark Bittman recipe for the salad, so hop on over to her website to see it. This corn-avocado salad is fresh, summery, and sweet! It would go great with a lot of stuff: tortilla chips, tacos, nachos, or just as a side salad for barbeque dinners. I made very few modifications with mine, here goes…
Corn-Avocado SaladAdapted from Mark Bittman, The Food Matters Cookbook
1 small Walla Walla onion, choppedcorn kernels from 2 ears of fresh corn (slice the kernels off the ears carefully so the kernels don’t fly everywhere)
3 mini bell peppers, chopped
½ tsp chili powder
1 tomato, chopped
1 tbsp dill chimichurri (*see recipe below*)
juice of half an orange
1 avocado, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
generous amount of butter (about 1 tbsp)
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, melt the butter. Cook the onion for about a minute and then throw in the corn kernels. Stir every now and then for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables turn brown. Toss in the bell peppers and cook for about a minute. Turn the heat off and move onions, corn, and bell peppers to a bowl.
Add the chili powder, tomatoes, chimichurri, and fresh orange juice. Stir everything together until well mixed. Gently toss in the chopped avocado and season with salt and pepper.
Alrighty then, hope you are all still following here… This crabmeat was my something special to go along with the salad. Canned crabmeat is nothing fancy, but guess what? It is hassle free and if done right can turn out pretty well. Just make sure you buy the real, wild caught, canned crabmeat, ok? The blend of spices and splash of lemon makes this crabmeat really awesome… easy, simple, and delicious!
olive oil1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup canned crabmeat, packed
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
¼ tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, sauté the garlic until it turns golden brown. Add the crabmeat and stir for a minute or so before adding the cumin, cayenne, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes and turn the heat off.
Serve with lemon wedges. Lemon juice brightens up the crab meat and masks the crab taste that some people are not fond of.
Parsley and dill are great together! This recipe yielded about 2/3 of a cup and I am planning on adding this chimichurri a tablespoon or two at a time in sautéed vegetables later this week. If you have salmon, this would go really well with it… yum! I currently have a chimichurri addiction and it started with this FMP recipe. Since I had a bunch of dill waiting to be used, I figured it would be great to use it in a chimichurri… and I am very pleased with how it turned out.
1 cup fresh parsley, mostly leaves¼ cup fresh dill, stems cut off
juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large clove of garlic
pinch of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Place the parsley, dill, lemon, olive oil, and garlic together in a blender. Blend until everything is reduced to a sauce. Add the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and blend for a few more seconds. Transfer chimichurri into a bowl and serve with vegetables or meat. If you don’t plan on using it right away, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
This turned out to be one of our best summer dinners! Give it a try…
P.S. Don’t forget to check out what other FMP members did with this recipe. Everyone’s creativeness never ceases to amaze me!