Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

West Frisian pancake

Ingredients

Serves two:

  • 1 small or halved cauliflower
  • 125 g diced lean smoked bacon
  • 50 g plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • salt
  • 125 ml milk
  • 6 scallions, coarsely cut
  • (without the dark green ends)
  • parsley leaves

West Friesland is a region in the Province of North Holland where the land is so perfect for growing cauliflower that it produces 60 % of this vegetable in the Netherlands. Cauliflower is mentioned in the first cookbook published on Dutch territory, written by doctor Carolus Battus (1593). He simmers his Blom-Coolen in the broth of a castrated ram with ram’s fat or butter and seasons them with ginger powder. Never the less Doctor Van Beverwijck considers cauliflower prepared this way  in his book Schat der Gesontheit (Treasure of Health, 1642) aengenamer (more agreeable) and lighter to digest than normal cabbage.

In his time bloemkool was still very expensive, for it had to be imported from Italy or Crete. This changed at the end of the 17th century when the cultivation in North Holland started. It was an enormous effort to drudge the cauliflowers through the ditches of ‘The domain of thousand islands’ with flat boats that had to be lifted over dykes. But the Dutch cauliflower appeared on the market.

And yes, already very soon with the notorious thick white milk sauce. The perfect  Dutch kitchen maid (De Volmaakte Hollandse Keuken-Meid 1761) calls this very good food. There is a lot of disputing about tastes!

See for another recipe for cauliflower on this site: Cauliflower pies with egg salad.

  • Cut the cauliflower into small florets, wash. Bring ample water to the boil, cook the florets for 2 minutes. Leave to cool in a sieve.
  • Fry the bacon until light brown and crisp in a non-stick frying pan (bottom 25 cm) over low heat. Spoon onto a plate with a skimmer.
  • Whisk a smooth batter from flour, eggs and salt, dilute with milk.
  • Mix florets and scallions through the batter. Scoop into the pan. Cook covered over moderate heat until the top is practically dry. Then give the pancake a light brown tone by putting it under a glowing grill for a moment. Garnish with bacon and parsley.

 

Menu suggestion

  • First course: white radish with smoked cheese. Peel small white radish, shred coarsely, mix to taste with crème fraiche, pepper and salt. Spoon onto plates, surround with a rim of chopped smoked cheese, scattered with chopped chives.
  • Dessert: chocolate flan. Soak 2 gelatine leaves (4 g) in cold water. Melt 50 g dark chocolate in 2 tbsp custard taken from 250 ml custard over low heat. Dissolve the squeezed out gelatine in the chocolate custard. Mix with the rest of the custard and 2 tbsp beaten double cream. Spoon into coupes. Leave to cool. Garnish  with some more double cream and a pinch of instant coffee.

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