This recipe was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, April 29, 2004.

Pancakes for dinner!

Feel free to substitute ingredients to your liking; this makes a light dinner main course, a hearty side dish or an intriguing appetizer.

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

1/2 cup (120g) white flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon (10g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry yeast
3/4 cup yogurt
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder

4 tablespoons flavorful soft cheese. (I used "Shepherd's Wheel," a Camembert-style cheese from Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. in New York, but any cheese you like will be fine.)
2-3 ounces pitted olives. (Again, substitute freely, but a robust, flavorful variety works best. I used a green Sicilian olive packed with mixed herbs and spices.)


1. In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, mix the flour and cornmeal, sugar, salt, pepper and yeast. (Note to readers outside the U.S. and Canada: Our "corn" is your "maize," and cornmeal is a slightly more coarsely ground version of your cornflour. Substitute cornflour if you prefer - or just use 3/4 cup of flour to make a standard pancake, although I would miss the corn flavor.)

2. Beat the egg until it's well-mixed, and add the yogurt and egg into the dry ingredients, stirring just until everything is blended. Set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking, to give the yeast a chance to work. (You may see random bubbles, but the batter probably won't get frothy.)

3. Chop the olives coarsely, and stir them in with the cheese to make a thick spread. Add a little milk or cream if needed to get a creamy texture.

4. Put a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it's hot, then wipe with a bit of butter or paper towel dampened with oil, just enough to paint a thin coating on the surface. (I used two skillets so I could cook the entire batch at once; alternatively, set your oven to warm so you can hold one batch on a plate while you finish the rest.)

5. Just before cooking, stir the baking powder into the batter. Drop about one heaping tablespoon of batter onto the skillet to make each pancake; there should be enough for about a dozen "silver dollar" size rounds. Reduce heat to medium-low and let them cook gently until they're firm on the bottoms and well-risen, about three minutes; then turn gently, using a thin spatula, and cook for two or three minutes on the other side.

6. Flip the pancakes one more time and spoon a dab of the cheese-olive mix on top of each. Leave on heat just until the cheese warms and starts to melt.

WINE MATCH: I look to the topping more than the pancake to fine my wine pairing, and in this instance, the creamy cheese and earthy olives suggested a fruity red. I was very happy with its affinity for the excellent Catacula Lake 2000 Napa Valley Zinfandel.