Seasons’ Eatings: Savoury Leek Pancakes with Spiced Fillet of Salmon & Creamy Herb Garlic Sauce
By Allison Goodings
London, UK – Spring has sprung here in jolly old England and with it has come shops filled with golden daffodils, pubs overflowing into the sunny streets, and the beginnings of the abundance of lovely local produce. It is truly my favourite time of year as new season English vegetables begin to arrive weekly at our local greengrocer, Tony’s Continental, and I get excited every time we pop in to pick up our groceries because there will be a new vegetable to greet us!
I was especially excited for my turn on RecipeRelay this spring because in addition to being able to showcase the best of local British fare, I was also going to be relaying off my very good friend Allison Radecki – “American” Allison as she is known in our house, making me “Canadian” Allison, just to keep it all straight! In addition to sharing a first name, Allison and I also share many similar tastes in food (probably due to our shared eastern European heritages), and I was thrilled to see her Potato Boxty, a version of a potato pancake, on the Relay. I too have memories of fried potato and onion pancakes and the lingering scent of oil that lasts many hours after dinner, and I loved the idea of taking that oily pancake and doing something new and different with it – and so the pancake challenge relay was born!
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One of my favourite chefs is Yotam Ottolenghi, and his recipes always inspire me to use vegetables in new and different ways. He has a very tasty leek fritter recipe that I’ve made before, and while it was certainly delicious, it did have an awful lot of steps and processes that we found a bit daunting. I decided to take his concept of a leek pancake, but simplify it.
I have recently started to subscribe to a great newsletter called Eat the Seasons and was very pleased when my weekly update on what was good to eat included leeks and another favourite in our house, salmon. I decided to add a spice-crusted fillet of salmon alongside the leek pancakes, and finish the dish off with an herby, garlicky crème fraiche.
After a trip down our street to Tony’s for the fresh vegetables and staples, I stopped into our local fishmonger for some salmon fillets. They encouraged us to buy the entire salmon, and offered to fillet and pin-bone the whole fish for us, which certainly seemed like a great idea to me! Especially since I could freeze any extra salmon we didn’t need for this meal. We were having friends over for Sunday lunch the following day, and I decided this recipe would be a good one for our pescatarian guests. I also wanted some guinea pigs to try these pancakes out on before putting the recipe in the Relay!
Needless to say, our Sunday lunch with our friends and their 10 year-old daughter went very well and everyone gobbled up the pancakes and salmon as quickly as they could! A definite winner of a recipe in our house – hope you enjoy it too!
Savoury Leek Pancakes with Spiced Fillet of Salmon & Creamy Herb Garlic Sauce
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 65 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 3 leeks, sliced lengthwise, then into small pieces and washed thoroughly
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup chopped fresh herbs (parsley, coriander, dill or any combination you prefer)
- ¾ cup crème fraiche (or sour cream)
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 red chilli
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 4 salmon fillets, approximately 125 – 150g each
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- Salt & pepper
- Olive oil
- In a large skillet, sauté the leeks, green onions, and 2 cloves of garlic (chopped) in 5 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt (this prevents the leeks from burning). Sauté for 15 minutes over a medium-low heat until well cooked and soft (even a bit brown would be fine). Transfer to bowl and allow to cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk, and then gradually add in flour and baking powder. Whisk until it forms a thick batter, and then add melted butter.
- Take half of the minced fresh herbs (¼ cup) and stir into leek mixture, along with 2 tsp. minced red chilli (or more to taste). Combine leek mixture with batter, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- For the sauce, combine crème fraiche with the remaining clove of garlic (crushed), the remaining chopped fresh herbs, 2 tbsp. olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, and 3/4 tsp. salt. Set aside.
- For the salmon, combine the fennel seed, coriander seed and cumin seed into a mortar & pestle and crush well. Sprinkle spice mixture on flesh side of salmon fillets.
- To cook the pancakes, heat a large skillet with a little olive oil and add a large spoonful of the batter mixture. Cook until golden, approximately two to three minutes per side. If you don’t want to cook the pancakes and the salmon at the same time, you can cook the pancakes in batches and keep them warm in a low oven until ready to serve and do the salmon right before serving.
- In a non-stick frying pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil to medium and place the salmon fillets seed-side down into the oil. Cook 3-4 minutes on the first side, then flip over and cook a few minutes on the other side. The length of cooking time will depend on the thickness of the salmon fillets, but I find if the side of the fillet looks cooked, then the inside probably is too.
- Serve the pancakes (2-3 per person, depending on size) with the salmon on top and a generous dollop of the sauce on the side. Enjoy!
Allison Goodings lives in London, England, and is the recipe writer for the Archer, a local community newspaper in East Finchley. She also recently started a blog called Ode to an Artichoke featuring simple recipes and random musings on all things delicious. When not feeding her friends and family, planning what to cook for her next meal, selling cheese at a local market or daydreaming about asparagus, she works for the Canadian High Commission.