Back in March, Chelsea Clinton set the Internet on fire when she tweeted a photo of spinach pancakes she made for her family for National Pancake Day. The fury was swift and funny: “Looks like the residue after the swamp is drained” might have been my favorite retweet.
Clinton defended the choice as a way to get her daughter (who loves the pancakes) to consume more iron, and others praised her. (“If you can get a small child to eat spinach by making spinach pancakes, you are a genius,” one tweeted.)
I was of two minds: First, it might not surprise you to learn that I find nothing inherently horrifying about spinach in pancakes, any more than I would about greens in smoothies. Depends on the recipe, right? On the other hand, no offense, but Clinton’s pancakes did look pretty awful: a twisted green pile rather than a neat snack with toppings. I immediately tweeted her a green pancake recipe from The Post’s archives that had a little — make that a lot — more eye appeal.
A few months later, when I saw a recipe for Green Pancakes in a new cookbook, I thought I’d dive in a little further. Unlike Clinton’s, which she said use steamed and pureed spinach, these call for raw spinach, which you puree with egg yolks, milk and — this is the brilliant addition — a handful of fresh mint leaves. The mint (along with a little sugar) makes these taste bright and fresh.
The recipe is from Portland, Ore., chef Jenn Louis’s lovely collection, “The Book of Greens” (Ten Speed Press, 2017). She uses all-purpose flour, but I substituted white whole-wheat flour for an extra dose of whole-grain goodness, and for a little more texture, I added pumpkin seeds to her suggested toppings of soft goat cheese and/or strawberry preserves. The result has kid appeal, for sure, but any greens-loving adult would scarf these up, too. I did.
I am tempted to ask the Internet trolls to not knock it till they try it, but since when did that do any good?
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(makes twelve 6-inch pancakes)
Adapted from “The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium of 40 Varieties, from Arugula to Watercress, with More Than 175 Recipes,” by Jenn Louis and Kathleen Squires (Ten Speed Press, 2017).
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 large eggs, separated into whites and yolks
2 cups whole milk
7 ounces fresh spinach
½ cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves with stems (½ ounce; use tender leaves and stems; avoid using dark, tough stems)
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup fresh goat cheese, for serving
½ cup strawberry preserves, for serving
½ cup roasted unsalted pumpkin seeds, for serving
Stir together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
Use a whisk or handheld electric mixer to beat the egg whites in a separate, clean bowl, until they form stiff peaks.
Combine the egg yolks, milk, spinach and mint in a blender and process until fully incorporated, then pour that mixture and the melted butter into the flour mixture and stir well. Gently fold in the egg whites (all at once).
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Coat a medium nonstick skillet lightly with the oil and heat over medium-high heat.
Scoop up ½ cup of the batter with a measuring cup or ladle and pour into the center of the skillet. Cook until browned in spots on the bottom side and bubbles have formed around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a large spatula to flip the pancake to cook the second side, adding more oil to the pan as needed for the second side to crisp up. Transfer to a baking sheet or ovenproof platter and place in the warm oven. Repeat to use all the batter.
Serve right away, topped with goat cheese (savory) and/or with strawberry preserves (sweet). Top with pumpkin seeds.
Nutrition | Per serving (using 2 tablespoons oil): 370 calories, 10 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 270 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 11 g sugar
Recipe tested by Joe Yonan; email questions to email@example.com
More ways to eat your greens: