This versatile little pancake is the ideal destination for tender herbs with edible flowers because you can use both in any combination. The pancakes look pretty with flecks of herbs and flowers and the bright green of the peas. And the flavor is wonderful. I especially like to use cilantro here since it goes so well with peas, and you can use the leaves, the flowers, and even the chopped tender stems together. Chives and chive blossoms (or a combination of chives and cilantro) would be nice too. Basil or Thai basil and its flowers wouldn’t be too bad either, come to think of it. Or you could use a mix of herbs.

Save some of the flowers for garnish. I’ve suggested smoked salmon, avocado, and sour cream with these pancakes for fun hors d’oeuvres, but I used them one night as a base for mini–pork burgers made with garlic, ginger, cilantro, and scallions, and they were a hit. Use your imagination!

I portion the batter with a tablespoon measure to make pancakes that are about 2 to 2½ inches wide – a good size for appetizers. But you could use a bigger measure to make wider pancakes as part of a main dish.

Makes 22 to 24 small pancakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ⅔ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for serving if desired
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for frying and/or serving
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • ¼ cup (packed) or ⅓ cup (loosely packed) chopped herbs and whole herb flowers (preferably cilantro,chives, basil, Thai basil, mint, or a combination), plus flowers for garnish
  • ½ cup peas, fresh or frozen, microwaved or blanched for 30 seconds and drained
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for frying   

For Garnishing:

  • Sour cream or crème fraîche
  • Herb flowers or petals
  • 1 to 2 ounces thinly sliced cold smoked salmon (optional)
  • ½ avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into small, thin pieces or small dice (optional)
  • Herb- or citrus-infused olive oil (optional)
  • Sea salt (optional)

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and ground coriander.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, sour cream, melted butter, and lemon zest. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid mixture, whisking until they are just combined. Add the chopped herbs and flowers and stir and whisk to combine. Stir in the peas and the scallions. Let the batter sit for 10 to 20 minutes.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat about a 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. When the butter has melted and is bubbling, use a tablespoon measure to scoop batter into the pan, forming 5 or 6 pancakes. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the pancakes are golden brown on the bottom (bubbles will appear on the sides of the tops), then flip. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, until the bottoms are browned. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and keep warm in a low oven, if desired. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding butter and oil to the pan as necessary, and turning the heat down as necessary.

4. Serve warm topped with your choice of garnishes.