Dutch baby Photo by Jim Dixon.
Jim Dixon wrote about food for WW for more than 20 years, but these days most of his time is spent at his olive oil-focused specialty food business Wellspent Market. Jim’s always loved to eat, and he encourages his customers to cook by sending them recipes every week through his newsletter. We’re happy to have him back creating some special dishes just for WW readers.
Like many Portlanders, I learned to love Dutch babies at the Original Pancake House on Southwest Barbur Boulevard. The giant baked pancake came dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with lemon juice, and it made the long wait for a table worth it. When I found a recipe in my mom’s old Joy of Cooking, I started making them at home, and was surprised how a couple of eggs quickly whisked with a little flour and milk, then cooked in an oven with a lot of butter, transformed those ingredients into an impressively puffy breakfast.
Since they’re easier and faster to put together than regular pancakes, I’ve been making Dutch babies for our maple syrup-loving grandsons when they visit. And since I’ve always got some in the pantry, I’ve been using olive oil instead of butter. When I made one with heirloom whole wheat flour, the sturdy crust and complex nutty flavor called for a savory topping.
I took a clue from Megan Scott and John Becker, descendants of Joy originator Irma Rombauer and the local authors behind the newest edition of the book. In the headnotes for the updated Dutch baby recipe, they write that they sometimes top the puffy pancake with sauteed greens and fried eggs. I tossed a couple of handfuls of arugula with a little oil, added some herbs, crumbled some feta, and spread it on top of an olive oil Dutch baby about halfway through baking.
The pizza-adjacent result is now on regular rotation in my kitchen. It makes an elegant light dinner or hearty, savory breakfast with a few minutes of prep and about half an hour of cooking. And I’m still impressed when I pull a puffy, browned Dutch baby out of the oven.
2 eggs
1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher-style sea salt
2 cups arugula
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon red pepper (optional)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
*While any flour will work, for the best flavor pick up a locally grown heirloom flour like Red Fife or Maris Widgeon from the farmers market or a specialty grocer.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Beat the eggs, add flour, milk and salt, stir until blended.
Heat a 9- or 10-inch skillet over medium for a few minutes, add the oil, swirl so it coats the sides of the pan, then add the batter. Place in the oven.
Put the arugula in a bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil, and add the oregano and red pepper.
After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees, remove the skillet, spread the arugula on top of the pancake, distribute the cheese evenly over the greens, and return the skillet to the oven. Cook for about 10 more minutes. Eat hot.
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