Last Valentine’s Day David gave me a waffle iron. Ordinarily, I don’t think small appliances make good romantic gifts, but David knows that one of the fastest ways to my heart is through a good hot breakfast. Julia feels the same way. At two, she regularly eats more breakfast than either of us, and “Waffles?” is often one of the first things she says after rising on weekend mornings.
I love the light, crispy texture of waffles, but (unlike Julia), I only like a sweet breakfast every now and then. I’d been thinking about trying to make savory waffles, though, and this weekend I had some time to do some experimenting. After some trial and error, I have a recipe that I really like.
Parmesan and thyme flavor (and scent) these waffles, but the taste is subtle and nutty –not overpoweringly rich or salty. They’re also lighter and healthier than most waffles because the recipe uses olive oil instead of melted and cooled butter.
This recipe is flexible too. You can omit the cheese and thyme, halve the salt and add 1/4 cup of sugar to the batter to make delicious sweet waffles. Or, as I did yesterday morning, make half the batch sweet (for Julia) and half savory (for David and me). Just make the batter through step 4, except using only 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt. Then divide it roughly in half. To one half, stir in 2 tablespoons of sugar. To the other, mix in 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 cup of grated parmesan and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves. Everybody’s happy.
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup (250 ml) milk
2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (250 ml) grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons fresh (or 1 teaspoon dried) thyme leaves
1. Whisk egg yolks and 1 teaspoon salt until smooth and creamy.
2. Whisk in milk, flour and oil. Whisk until batter is smooth. (It will be quite stiff at this point.)
3. Using an electric mixer (or a whisk) beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks.
4. Fold the egg whites into the batter until thoroughly incorporated.
5. Add the parmesan and thyme and mix just until combined.
6. Bake in a waffle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions (as you would any waffle).
Serve warm or at room temperature with eggs for breakfast or brunch, or serve with a simple green salad for a light lunch. Leftover savory waffles freeze well and can be thawed and reheated in a 350 F (175 C) oven or even the toaster.