Saturday, 25 February 2012

Clatite Brasovene

“Brasov-style savoury pancakes”

Pancakes, or clatite, are a big part of the Romanian dining experience. Most restaurants, from the lowliest neighbourhood carciuma (a kind of bar-bistro) to the more elegant downtown restaurant will serve pancakes of some sort. Most commonly they are the sweet versions, making good use of the countries plethora of jams and preserves, but you frequently find savoury pancakes served as a starter or a main course. These savoury pancakes hail from the city of Brasov and differe from regular pancakes in that they are dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and then crisped off before serving.

They can be stuffed with whatever you like. The chicken can be omitted to make a simple vegetarian mushroom-stuffed pancake. Chicken livers can be chopped and added, as can smoke-cured meats, or even pork tenderloin. I've chosen to make them with the chicken I had left over from making supa de pui cu galuste de gris earlier, but you can use whatever you have in the fridge.

Servings: About 6-7 pancakes
Time: 50 minutes


For the pancake batter:
300g of plain flour
500ml of milk
3 eggs
Salt to taste

For the crispy coating:
3 eggs
200g of breadcrumbs (pesmet)

For the filling:
1 medium onion
2 eggs
1 tablespoon of plan flour
1 glass of cold milk
1 bunch of dill
A few tarragon leaves
300g of cooked chicken chunks
600g of mushrooms
A pinch of dried thyme
Salt, pepper, and paprika, to taste
Oil (olive, butter, dripping, sunflower – whatever you prefer)

For serving:
Some kind of sauce, such as homemade tomato sauce, sour cream sauce, cheese sauce, or whatever you like.
Some chopped parsley or dill to sprinkle on top


For the filling:
1. Trim and rinse the mushrooms and perhaps cut them into thick slices (or leave whole, if they are small enough.)
2. Finely chop the onion.
3. Heat the oil in the pan and when it’s hot, add the mushrooms (and chicken pieces if they are uncooked) and onion and sauté for about 5-10 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and the onion is translucent.
4. While they are cooking, dissolve the flour in the cold milk, add the eggs, and beat till well combined.
5. Finely chop the dill and the tarragon.
6. When the mushrooms and onions are soft, add the chicken (if you used cooked chicken), the milk/egg mixture, the thyme, pepper, salt, paprika, and mix well and leave to continue cooking on a medium-low heat for a few more minutes, until it starts to thicken up a little, then take off the heat.
7. Then stir in the chopped dill and tarragon.

For the pancakes:
1. Beat together the flour and eggs and the salt, and gradually add the milk until you get the right consistency.
2. Make the pancakes in the normal way, but they should be a little large than regular pancakes, and a little bit thicker.
3. Make all the pancakes you can with the batter and keep them warm to one side.

For the final composition:
1. Lay a pancake out in front of you.
2. Spread some of the filling on the pancake, spreading it quite thinly, from top to bottom, but not out to the sides too much.
3. Fold both sides in (fold about 2-3cm over on each side) and then roll the pancake up from the bottom to the top (thus trapping the sides you’ve just folded over to prevent the filling leaking out when you cook them).
4. Repeat until you’re out of pancakes or filling.
5. Heat some oil in a frying pan, needs to be about 1cm of oil (of whatever kind, but sunflower or dripping is most commonly used). Make sure the oil is hot, but not smoking. If it’s not hot enough, the pancakes will absorb loads of oil which makes them soggy, oily, and unpleasant.
5. Beat the eggs for the crispy coating together and pour them into a shallow dish.
6. Tip the breadcrumbs onto another plate.
7. Dip each pancake into the egg to coat it well, then roll them in the breadcrumbs until thoroughly coated, then pop them into the frying pan with the hot oil.
8. Fry them evenly all over and remove to a plate with some kitchen paper on it to drain off any excess oil.
9. Arrange them nicely on the serving plates and just before serving, drizzle on some sauce of your chose, but don’t pour on too much on the top or they’ll go soggy. Garnish with herbs and serve.


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