“Okonomi” means “whatever you want” in Japanese. In other words, you can make this dish with or without bacon, with octopus a la David Chang, or any toppings you desire — cheese, eggs, whatever. If you want to go truly Japanese, get some okonomi sauce and Kewpie mayonnaise to drizzle on the top, but this is not crucial. You will need a 12-inch skillet to make this, either cast-iron or nonstick.
Serves four to six.
4 cups shredded cabbage (you can use preshredded, bagged coleslaw mix)
1/2 cup chopped scallions, divided in half
4 Tbsp. pickled ginger, drained and chopped and divided in half
6 slices bacon (if desired), cut in half
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
Combine the cabbage with the scallions and ginger.
In large bowl combine dry ingredients, then add half a cup of water and whisk. Add eggs and whisk some more. Add this to the cabbage mixture.
In a cold 12-inch skillet, layer bacon in single layer. Top with cabbage batter and put on stove over medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, checking bottom occasionally and adjusting the heat. You want the pancake to set slowly, and you don’t want the bacon to burn. Use a plate or other frying pan to flip the pancake over. Slide it from the cooking pan onto a plate or pan. Then gently flip it over back into original frying pan. Cook this side for about 10 more minutes. By this time it should be firm enough that you can flip it a few more times. Cook until set and bacon is medium crisp on the bottom.
Slide pancake onto a serving platter and top with the rest of the scallions and pickled ginger. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.
Simple Roast Chicken
Knowing how to roast a chicken means you can cook for anyone, anytime.
1 3-lb. chicken of the best quality you can afford (Don’t bother with Perdue or other cheapo brands; they don’t taste like chicken.)
Salt and pepper: Be generous!
2 Tbsp. dried Italian herbs or herbes de Provence
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 375.
Wash and dry chicken. Rub all over with salt and pepper, then drizzle with oil, sprinkle herbs over the whole, and squeeze some lemon juice on it.
Roast for one hour, basting occasionally and adding a bit of water to make some jus.
I learned from my mother that the addition of fresh, grated garlic or a teaspoon of Dijon mustard does wonders for a salad dressing. It really doesn’t matter about the quality of vinegar or olive oil you use when you add these strong, savory flavors. For more delicate dressings, use minced shallots and fancy vinegars.
Makes one cup and will keep in the refrigerator for a week or two.
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or balsamic or lemon juice
1 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey
1 tsp. salt or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste (I like a lot)
1 clove garlic, minced, or 3 Tbsp. shallots, minced, and/or 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
Whisk all ingredients together. It may emulsify, it may not. The sweetness of the maple syrup and/or Dijon mustard actually help it to emulsify.
Use to dress greens just before serving.