This dish is an ode to the magnificent chickpea. They are in the pancakes (as both gram flour and whole), and also crisped up and used to adorn the dish at the end, for a pleasing bit of texture. This is good for any time of the day, being at once light and fresh (thanks to the herbs), but filling, too. I like these pancakes with poached eggs, but they work equally well without.
Chickpea pancakes with herby ricotta
Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr
1 x 400g tin chickpeas
Vegetable or rapeseed oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
4-8 eggs, for poaching (optional)
2 spring onions, peeled and finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
For the pancakes
230g gram (chickpea) flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp smoked paprika
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
For the herb ricotta
200g creme fraiche
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
40g parsley, chopped
15g dill, chopped, plus extra, left whole, to garnish
10g mint, chopped
1 small cucumber, finely chopped
Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid from the can. Put half the chickpeas in an ovenproof dish with a splash of oil, a teaspoon of smoked paprika and half a teaspoon each of salt and pepper, then roast for 25 minutes, shaking the dish a couple of times during cooking.
To make the pancake batter, mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Measure the drained chickpea water, top up with hot water to bring it up to 250ml, then pour this into the dry ingredients. Add the other half of the drained chickpeas, 100g ricotta, half the lemon zest and juice, mix well and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Put two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat, then spoon two heaped dessertspoonfuls of the batter mix into a corner of the pan. Repeat with as many pancakes as will fit in the pan, allowing for some spread – they should spread to about 10cm wide – then fry for about four minutes, until the tops have set. Flip, cook for a further four minutes, until golden brown underneath, then transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil as needed.
Mix the remaining 300g ricotta with the creme fraiche , extra-virgin olive oil, herbs, cucumber and the remaining lemon zest and juice, then season to taste.
If you’re serving these with poached eggs, bring a pan of water to a boil and cook the eggs to your desired consistency – I give them about five minutes for a runny yolk.
In a small pan, fry the spring onion and chilli in the butter on a medium heat for eight to nine minutes, until the butter starts to bubble. Take off the heat and stir in the remaining teaspoon of paprika.
To serve, put two pancakes on each plate, pile on the herb ricotta and poached eggs (if using), then drizzle the spiced butter all over the top. Garnish with dill and the crisped chickpeas, and eat immediately.