“A few years ago I went to an exhibition of food ephemera at the State Library of Victoria,” says Grogan. “On display was a handwritten recipe for a bread pancake. I used to make something similar with ground matzo (unleavened flatbread) but adapted the recipe to use white sourdough breadcrumbs.
“It makes a big fat delicious pancake that is wonderful topped with a good dollop of fresh goat’s cheese and a handful of chopped chives or chervil fronds. Paired with a bowl of dressed salad leaves, and perhaps with a glass of flinty sauvignon blanc, luncheon is served. You can glam it up by drizzling with truffle oil or by serving it with salmon caviar or crème fraîche and smoked salmon.”
Serves 4 for lunch or 8 as a snack
270 g fine fresh breadcrumbs (see below)
250 ml milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
40 g parmesan, finely grated
1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp finely chopped thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
60 g butter
Chopped herbs, salad greens or sliced vegetables, to serve
1. To make the breadcrumbs, take 250 g crust-free bread (sourdough or whatever else you have lying around) and cut into 1 cm cubes. Add to a food processor and blend for a minute or two to form fine breadcrumbs. If not using immediately, keep in a sealed plastic container in the fridge for several days. Alternatively, place in a large ziplock bag and freeze for several months.
2. For the bread pancake, place the breadcrumbs in a bowl, pour the milk over them and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Add the egg, parmesan, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and mix well.
3. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat until it is hot. Add half the butter and let it melt, tilting the pan to coat the base.
4. When the butter is sizzling, pour the bread mixture into the pan, spreading it evenly to the edges with the back of a spoon. Cook for 5–8 minutes. It is ready to turn over when the base is browned and the edges come away from the sides. Place a plate over the frying pan, then invert the pancake onto the plate.
5. Melt the remaining butter in the pan and coat the base. When sizzling, slide the pancake into the pan, cooked-side up, and cook for 5 minutes or until the base is golden brown.
6. Remove from the frying pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and dress with a few extra herbs, greens or vegetables, then cut into pieces and serve immediately.
This is an edited extract from Phillippa’s Home Baking by Phillippa Grogan, published by Penguin (2017). Available where all good books are sold (RRP: $39.99).
Sign up to our weekly news on Victoria’s best food and drink.