Jalapeño Pancakes

Once, as it happened, I was house-sitting for friends and there was nothing in the house to eat. They did leave me a bottle of wine and a bottle of milk, but the refrigerator was bare. Just the milk and a couple of onions. I had jalapeños, because I always travel with them (see Ritual 6). Rooting through the cupboards was a disappointing journey: little bags of rancid walnuts, half-empty jars of store-bought jam, lots of instant ramen; none of that appealed.

And then I saw her: that familiar picture of Aunt Jemima smiling from a box of pancake mix. Jalapeño pancakes would be my simple supper! I sliced the jalapeños and the onions, mixed them with salt, cumin, and oil, and then added them to the thick batter. They were shockingly good, reminding me a bit of stuffed Indian naan. Now—sorry, Aunt Jemima—I make them from scratch. They are also excellent with fried eggs for breakfast or to accompany smoked salmon with a dab of sour cream.

Jalapeño Pancakes: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 cup buttermilk, 1 egg, beaten, 1 tablespoon melted butter or olive oil; ½ cup thinly sliced onion or scallion, 1 or 2 jalapeño chiles, sliced thin, and ½ teaspoon toasted coarsely ground cumin.

Mix up the batter, and stir in the onion, jalapeños, and cumin. Heat up the griddle, and make your pancakes.

Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys