When the weekend rolls around, maybe you sleep in a bit. That commute from the bedroom to the kitchen table or office was particularly grueling this week (darn those Lego blocks!!!!), and you’ve earned it.
So when you roll into the kitchen at 10 a.m. or so, it just doesn’t seem like a “breakfast” time.
And it’s too early for lunch.
Precisely why brunch was invented, of course, and we’re leaning into that this week, with a recipe for a Savory Dutch Baby.
If you’ve never heard of a Dutch Baby, that’s OK. It’s a bit of a hyrbrd, a mashup of a frittata and a pancake.
I first ran into this dish at a great breakfast spot in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, The Original Pancake House. There, the Dutch Baby is served with lemon and powdered sugar, or strawberries and whipped cream, for those who like dessert for breakfast.
Here, we’re going to make a savory version of the dish. It won’t tickle your sweet tooth, but it will give you a hearty, delicious brunch dish.
For the Savory Dutch Baby, you’ll need:
- 6 large eggs
- 1.5 cups of milk (whole, 2-1-1/2%, skim–probably not almond or soy)
- 6 T butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup flour
- 4 T cornstarch
- Salt, pepper, and fillings
To start, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. While preheating, place a 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet on the middle rack. You’re preheating the pan, too.
Now, find some toppings/fillings for the Dutch Baby. Check in the cheese drawer, look for leftover cold cuts, open up some of those plasticware containers with dinner leavings, etc.
I found some Black Forest ham, a couple small pieces of cheese, and a shallot.
I grated the Gruyere and Parmesan.
I diced the ham and shallot, and started sautéing in a small pan.
Once that starts to caramelize a bit, start the batter.
Crack six eggs into a blender. If you don’t have a blender, a hand mixer will do. But if someone has gifted you with a Ninja, now’s the time for it to earn its keep.
Whip the eggs for a minute or so. You want them really frothy, with a lot of air beat into them.
Pour in the milk, beat some more.
Add 4 Tablespoons of the melted butter. Make sure it’s cooled, or you’ll have scrambled eggs in your blender. Not the plan for today.
Add in the flour, cornstarch, and a reasonable amount of salt and pepper. Blend just till combined.
Now, a decision point.
You can either stir your fillings into the batter, or you can sprinkle them on top, either now, or when it’s finished.
What’s the difference?
If you put them into the batter, the pancake won’t rise quite as high. They’ll get incorporated, so it will be a bit denser.
If you put them on top, the pancake will rise higher, but the fillings won’t be incorporated. While the residual heat will melt the cheese, it will be more like an egg crust pizza.
I like mine incorporated, so that’s how we’re rolling today.
Mix the grated cheese, the sautéed ham and shallot into the batter, just till combined.
Remember the cast iron skillet?
The one that’s been preheating in the oven for 15 minutes or so, while you were making the batter?
It’s really, really hot now.
So when I say “Take the preheated skillet from the oven,” please don’t reach in and grab it. Caramelization, the bad kind, will occur.
Using a potholder or oven mitt, remove the mad hot skillet from the oven, and put on a trivet or other heat protective device on the counter. Or just put it on the stove top.
Pour in the other 2 Tablespoons of butter, and swirl the pan to coat the bottom and sides.
Pour in the batter, and put the filled skillet back in the oven.
Bake for 22-25 minutes, til the top is crispy and browned.
(“Browned,” not brown. Browned = flavorful. Brown = burnt. One is better than the other.)
The Dutch Baby will be puffy, probably higher than the sides of the skillet.
As soon as you take it out of the oven, it will begin to deflate. So be sure everyone is ready to eat.
Slice it into 4 – 6 pieces, depending on appetites.
2 pieces if you have a 6’6″ son like I do.
Great with a nice green salad. I like arugula with a citrus viniagrette.
Let me know what you think, by leaving a comment–especially if you make it.