I find myself declaring the start of each new season to be my favorite. Every fall, I get all doe-eyed over the prospect of crisp days, fuzzy scarves and an abundance of squash. Every summer I fantasize about the next great road trip, swimming holes and a riotous overload of perfect produce.
But every spring I think to myself that it really, truly is my favorite. One would be hard-pressed not to find joy in the explosion of pale, fragrant blossoms, the longer days, the warmer weather, and the return of spring produce. Asparagus, fava beans and strawberries are a revelation after the heavy roots of winter.
These pancakes marry together the best of two seasons: winter’s departing Meyer lemons and spring’s arriving strawberries. Their wonderfulness is in part due to author and baker Kim Boyce, whose fantastic book, Good to the Grain, has the most perfect buckwheat pancake recipe that I have ever encountered. I follow her basic framework, only altering what fruits and spices might play a supporting role in this trusty weekend staple. The bright flavors of the mint and Meyer lemon with the first strawberries of the season make this brunch treat a celebration.
Meyer Lemon Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberries and Mint
Yield: About 15 pancakes
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of two Meyer lemons
2 cups buttermilk or milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
16 ounces strawberries, stems removed, sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons sugar
Juice of one Meyer lemon
1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely diced
Mint leaves for garnish
First, prep the strawberry topping. Combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and mint. Set aside, stirring occasionally, until ready.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and the lemon zest. Separately, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring until just combined. Lumpy batter is okay!
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Warm a skillet over a medium flame. Grease the skillet with butter. Use a 1/4 cup measure to make the pancakes. Work in batches of three or four pancakes. Let them sit, undisturbed, until bubbles begin to form on the surface, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook another two minutes or so. Remove from heat and keep warm in oven.
Regrease skillet in between batches. When all pancakes have been made, divide amongst plates and top with the strawberries and mint.
Garnish with extra mint if desired. Serve warm.
Kimberley Hasselbrink is a food photographer and blogger based in San Francisco. She is the author of the blog The Year in Food, which is framed around a monthly seasonal food guide. Kimberley enjoys unusual produce, strong coffee, road trips and summer nights.