Bill bought a lot of scallions recently, when we made sushi with my niece and my sister, and we needed to use them up before they started getting yucky….
And we had bacon….
So? Scallion pancakes…with bacon!
Part of our share of Boris included a section of pork belly earmarked for bacon.
The same day we put the pig head in brine, Bill also started curing the belly.
A week later he smoked it, along with some other pieces and parts we thought would benefit from the smoker.
The thing we hadn’t really, really taken into account was Boris’s age. I don’t know how old he was, but he was way, way older than the normal harvest age for a pig. As a result, the meat is tougher, and not all cooking methods are appropriate. We knew this…but at the same time, we didn’t know it enough.
As a result, a lot of the smoked items were inedible. Lesson learned? Low, slow, and wet. Pork belly trimmings added to a batch of baked beans came out beautifully. Yes. Lesson learned.
The bacon was a bit tough, so we’ve sliced it up very thinly. It’s sorted into approximately one pound packages and is in the freezer. It doesn’t all cook up as crisp as I would like, but Bill, who doesn’t like very crisp bacon, doesn’t mind.
Anyway – pancakes.
I cooked up some of our sliced bacon and then chopped or crumbled it into little bits.
I may have sampled some of it.
Quality control, you know.
I made the dough, chopped up a lot of scallions, and combined sesame oil with peanut oil.
About that time, Julia meandered into the kitchen and asked to help. Actually, she didn’t offer to help – she asked for half of the dough so she could roll it out and cut hearts out of it. I suggested the helping.
While Julia washed her hands, I rolled out the dough, brushed it with the sesame oil blend, and sprinkled on the bacon and scallions. I rolled the whole thing up, in cinnamon roll fashion, and sliced it into…hmmm…a bunch of portions. 8, maybe. Or maybe more.
Next, it was time to shape the pancakes. It’s a little tricky. Especially because I think I sliced my sections too small. Oops. Can’t do over, so just keep going.
Gently, gently, gently, I showed Julia how to squeeze the portions and roll them out to lengthen them enough to twist them and then roll into a spiral. It was a frustrating task; the scallions and bacon and oil dropped and dripped out the ends, and the dough would sometimes break when we tried to gently twist it. But we are tough women and we persevered.
While Julia finished rolling out the last pancake, I mixed the dipping sauce.
A mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, chopped scallions, red pepper flakes, and fish sauce – pretty standard ingredients – and then I put my own spin on it with the addition of minced candied ginger (we were out of fresh) and maple syrup. I figured it would work well with the bacon. And it did!
To cook them, I just brushed the bottom of a hot pan with more of the sesame oil mixture, cooked a pancake on that til the bottom was starting to brown, brushed the top with more oil, flipped it over, and cooked until that side was brown, too.
How were they? They were so good that there were no leftovers, and the only pictures I have of them were taken at night, in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.
I figure that’s a good sign.
Bacon Scallion Pancakes
For the pancakes:
2 cups flour
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup chopped bacon
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup peanut oil
For the dipping sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
1 tablespoon chopped bacon
1 teaspoon minced candied ginger
What to do:
1. Add the boiling water to the flour, stirring with a spoon, and mix until a warm dough is formed. Place this out of the way on your counter and cover it with a bowl to rest for half an hour.
2. While the dough rests, you can chop everything and mix up the dipping sauce, if you haven’t done all that already.
3. On a floured board or the countertop, roll out the dough into a rough rectangle or square about 1/4” thick. Brush the surface with some of the sesame oil/peanut oil blend, then sprinkle the bacon and scallions evenly over the whole surface.
4. Roll this whole thing up like you would a cinnamon roll and pinch to seal. Cut into portions depending on how large you want the pancakes to be. Four portions will give you big pancakes, and will probably be easier to work with if you’re new at this. Totally up to you.
5. Take one portion and roll it, pressing it gently, to elongate it slightly and then – again, gently – twist it into a spiral, and then curl the spiral into a ball. It will resemble a snail’s shell. Kind of. And without the snail’s head popping out. Or the slime trail.
6. Press down on the spiral to flatten slightly, then roll it out into a thin pancake, less than 1/4” thick. Finish rolling out all the portions this way.
7. Heat a pan (I don’t use non-stick for this) and brush lightly with some of the remaining sesame/peanut oil blend. Cook a pancake until the bottom starts to brown. Brush the top of the pancake with more oil, flip it over and cook until that side is brown, too. Continue cooking all the pancakes in this manner, keeping them warm until they’re all finished.
8. Slice the pancakes into wedges and serve with the dipping sauce.