Beet and Masa Pancakes with Goat Cheese, Herbs, and Honey

Inspired by cecina, a savory Italian pancake appetizer, these beet and masa pancakes are topped with goat cheese, fresh herbs, radish slices, pumpkin seeds, and honey.

By Yankee Magazine

Dec 19 2018

Photo Credit : Brian Samuels | Food and Prop Styling by Catrine Kelty

Matt Louis, chef-owner of Moxy and the Franklin Oyster House in Portsmouth’s historic downtown, is known for a wide-ranging menu of tapas made with local ingredients. Case in point: a fresh take on cecina, savory pancakes that are a popular appetizer in Italy. “These pancakes are traditionally made with chickpea flour, but we make them with masa flour and local root vegetables,” he says. Louis often uses shredded carrots, parsnips, or golden beets in the batter, but we like the rosy hues and sweet-earthy flavor imparted by roasted red beets. And where Louis serves his pancakes with toppings ranging from baba ganoush to tomato jam, our version makes humble goat cheese the star.

Note: Masa harina, also known as masa flour, is commonly used for tortillas and can be found in most grocery stores in the international foods aisle.


8 pancakes


2 cups masa harina (instant corn flour)
3 cups plus 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium roasted beets
4 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/2 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, basil, tarragon, and chervil
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup honey


In a blender, combine the masa harina, 3 cups water, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper and mix until smooth. Add beets and blend until the batter is smooth and pink. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes to thicken. The batter should be thick but spreadable, like pudding. If it’s too thick, add the extra 1/4 cup water, a bit at a time.

Heat oven to 175°. On the stovetop, set two large nonstick skillets over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add about 1/2 cup of the batter and spread to form a 6-to-7-inch circle. Cook until set on top and golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes, then flip and cook the other side, 3 to 4 more minutes. Remove from skillet and keep warm in the oven while you make the rest of the pancakes.

To serve, divide the goat cheese, herbs, radish slices, and pumpkin seeds among the pancakes, sprinkling the fillings down the center, then drizzle with honey. Fold the sides in like a crepe and serve warm or at room temperature.