In South Africa, we mostly associate waffles with ice cream and syrup – a sweet waffle is many people’s favourite treat. But many cultures in the world serve waffles as a savoury dish, adding all sorts of ingredients that range from simple ones such as crispy bacon and potato, to complex flavours such as kimchi-cheddar. The recipe offered here is loaded with many complementary ingredients, but feel free to play and make different combinations. The papaya in this recipe marries perfectly with the avocado and the cured fish, while providing a hint of sweetness along with the poached egg and the avocado cream cheese.
The thing with great waffles is that one should have a really hot waffle iron. Waffle irons that can be heated on a gas stove are easier to manage as one is better able to control the heat, since some commercial waffle irons have fail-safe temperature devices built in that allow them only to reach a certain temperature while one may actually require a hotter temperature. Irons that do not get hot enough or that one has not warmed up sufficiently beforehand will make tough, dry waffles. When the waffle iron is really nice and hot one gets moist waffles that are slightly crisp on the outside but not dry inside. If your iron is not non-stick, use a bit of food spray as the indentations of the waffle iron makes it complicated to get grease into all the little spaces, preventing your waffle from releasing when cooked.
Gravlax or gravadlax or lox is a Nordic preservation technique for fish, which literally translates to ‘graved’ (or buried) salmon. The origins of gravadlax can be traced back to 14th century North Sweden, when salt was very expensive and people had to find other preservation methods – from there the ‘buried salmon’, hence the name gravad lax or graved salmon. It is most often cured with salt and sugar and perhaps a bit of dill and is sometimes cold smoked afterwards. You can make your own if you wish, but if that sounds more trouble than you are willing to go to, you could replace it with smoked trout or peppered mackerel. In this recipe, the uncooked cured fish is really complimentary.
Ingredients for 6 portions:
For the savoury waffles:
250 g cake flour
12,5 ml baking powder
5 ml salt
250 ml milk
2 egg yolks
50 g butter, melted
5 ml of fresh thyme leaves
2 egg whites
For the topping:
1 medium avocado, ready to eat
230 g cream cheese
Salt and pepper
About 300 g gravadlax (more or less 50 g per person), thinly shaved
12 stalks green asparagus, trimmed, blanched and cut into two or three sections
1 medium papaya, cubed
6 poached eggs
Selection of green leaves such as wild rocket, rocket, or fennel or some lettuce, tossed in olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper
Selection of edible flowers
Little more good quality olive oil for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper from a hand mill
First make the avocado mash by combining the avocado and cream cheese and roughly mashing it together with some salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Have all the remaining ingredients for the topping ready – do not toss the leaves.
Make the waffle batter by mixing all the ingredients, except the egg whites, together. Beat the egg whites to medium stiff peak and fold into the batter. Warm up the waffle iron (spray if necessary) and bake the waffles one after the other. Keep them warm until they are all cooked.
Place six waffles out on individual plates, divide the avo mash between the six waffles and spread liberally over each. Divide the asparagus pieces over the avo mash and then sprinkle all the papaya cubes over. Dot with the thinly shaved gravadlax and place a poached egg on each. Toss the leaves with some olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper, and pile high on the six plates. Decorate with edible flowers, drizzle a small bit of olive oil over each plate and grind a little fresh black pepper over. Serve.