In an ideal world, I would have a job that never required me to work weekends. I’d be married and we’d enjoy lazy Saturday mornings, chatting, reading the paper, and drinking coffee. In actuality, I’m just glad to be gainfully employed, even if that means I sometimes work weekends. I tell myself that Mr. Right will come along eventually and enjoy the fact that there’s no one around to yell at me for using all the hot water in the house. I read the New Yorker, enjoy the quiet and sunlight (I’m so rarely in my apartment when it’s sunny), and drink good coffee.
I’m absolutely rotten at sleeping in, even when utterly exhausted, but on Saturdays (and more rarely on Sundays, which tend to be much busier) I try to afford myself the luxury of having a proper breakfast. Pancakes are a favorite choice although my experiences with making them at home have always disappointed. No matter the recipe, they’re always a bit leaden, hard to spread out onto a hot pan, and generally a bit fussy to make. (I mean really, who on a Saturday morning wants to be bothered with separating eggs, whisking egg whites, and beating them until stiff peaks form? And pancake mixes, snob that I am, are out of the question.) Also, a few years ago when I lived in Minneapolis, an old friend introduced me to the most extraordinary pancake place and almost every pancake since then has fallen far, far short. In fact, I still dream of those pancakes.
On Sunday, up inexplicably early, I headed to the gym, came home starving, and then remembered I’d had the foresight to soak some oats in buttermilk the night before to test out Orangette’s Oatmeal Pancake recipe. Oh wow. Amazing. These pancakes may become a part of my weekend ritual. I’m not saying that these pancakes beat Al’s Breakfast but they will, at least for the time being, save myself a trip to Minneapolis.
Adapted from Orangette’s Oatmeal Pancake recipe
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (1/2 a stick) unsalted butter, melted but not hot
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Vegetable oil or spray, for greasing the pan
Maple syrup, for serving
The night before:
Combine the oats and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Stir to mix. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
The morning of:
Take the bowl of buttermilk and oats out of the fridge. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Add the eggs and melted butter to the oat mixture, and stir well. Add the flour mixture, and stir to blend. The batter will be very thick.
Warm a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat, and brush (or spray) with vegetable oil. To make sure it’s hot enough, wet your fingers under the tap and sprinkle a few droplets of water onto the pan. If they sizzle, it’s ready. Scoop the batter, about a scant ¼ cup at a time, onto the pan, taking care not to crowd them. After a minute or two when the pancake has just started to set, press the desired quantity of blueberries into the top of the pancake. When the underside is nicely browned and the top looks set around the edges, flip the pancakes. Cook until the second side has browned.
Re-grease the skillet, and repeat with more batter. If you find that the pancakes are browning too quickly, dial the heat back to medium.
Serve hot, with maple syrup.
Yield: about 8-9 pancakes, or 2-3 servings