People and Food: Offshore Banana Pancakes

Need a morale-boosting breakfast for your crew? Try this!

Banana pancakes
Bananas are best for breads, muffins or pancakes when they are overripe and the skin is evenly brown. Don’t use green or yellow bananas (or even those with only a few small brown spots). For gluten-free pancakes, substitute almond or coconut flour for wheat flour.Lynda Morris Childress

On an offshore passage from Beaufort, South Carolina, to ­Nantucket, Massachusetts, aboard Ethos, our Westsail 32, we'd encountered a whole spectrum of weather, from being totally becalmed to being bounced around in 45 knots of wind. After one rough night, my husband, Ric; the ship's pup, Falcor; and I were feeling worse for wear.

We needed something warm and morale-boosting for breakfast.

I scanned the galley. Bananas — we always seem to overbuy them for offshore passages, and that morning, there were some particularly brown ones. Suddenly, I had an epiphany: banana pancakes! The boat was still being tossed around, but I managed to put together my original pancake recipe, adding smashed banana and, feeling decadent, chocolate chips. As I emerged from the galley (still wearing my foul-weather gear) with a plate of these piping-hot beauties, there were smiles all around — even from our pup! These pancakes are delicious served warm, with butter and syrup, or eaten cold later as a snack with butter and jam.

Offshore Banana Pancakes

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 11/2 teaspoons baking ­powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup milk (or substitute water)
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 overripe banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, egg, oil and vanilla extract (if using). Add this to the dry ingredients and stir well until fully incorporated.

Mix in the banana and (­optional) chocolate chips. Stir well until combined. Lightly oil a skillet and preheat over medium heat. Ladle desired amount of batter into the pan (about 1/3 cup for each pancake). Cook until small bubbles appear on the surface, then flip to cook the other side. Cook until both sides are a light golden brown. Repeat until all of the batter is used. (You may need to lightly oil the pan between batches.)

Serve warm with butter and maple syrup, honey or jam spread on top. Yields six pancakes.

Preparation: At anchor & underway
Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Cook's Notes: Bananas are best for breads, muffins or pancakes when they are overripe and the skin is evenly brown. Don't use green or yellow bananas (or even those with only a few small brown spots). For gluten-free pancakes, substitute almond or coconut flour for wheat flour.