Latkes. Boxty. Croquettes. Potato pancakes. These little treats should be super easy, right? Shredded potatoes, an egg, a bit of flour, little s&p, no problem? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Raw potatoes can take an eternity to cook, especially if you fry them. I’ve attempted to make potato pancakes on numerous occasions with varied success. I’ve tried them with shredded, uncooked potatoes. I’ve made them with soaked shredded potatoes. I’ve made with with leftover mashed potatoes. I’ve made them with cheese & cream. I’ve made them after a failed attempt at hashbrowns. I’ve made them with apples. I’ve served them with kielbasa and basil eggs. This is a stupidly easy dish that is stupidly difficult to get right.
This recipe is the one that I will go with from now on. It used a mixture of cooked and shredded potatoes and it’s the only one that really works all the time with a texture that isn’t too mushy like mashed potatoes and isn’t too much like a sort-of-circle of half-cooked hasbrowns.
yields 6 – 3 inch diameter pancakes
2 potatoes, peeled, one chopped & one shredded
1 T. butter
1/4 c. minced onions
1 small clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste
2 T. sour cream (optional)
1/3 c. flour
oil for frying
scallions & sour cream for optional garnish
To begin, heat a small saucepan of water to boiling. Place ONLY the chopped potato in the water, cooking for about 8 minutes or until fork tender. Once ready, place the shredded potato in the pot and cook for no more than 2 minutes. Remove from heat & strain the liquid.
While the potatoes are cooking, you may saute onions & garlic in butter in a saucepan over medium heat until slightly browned.
Mash with a fork, masher, or pastry blender until smooth.
In a cast iron skillet or heavy frying pan, heat 1/4 inch oil over medium heat. Take a spoonful of the rather sticky potato dough and quickly flip in flour on both sides (the dough shouldn’t be really stiff).
Place in hot oil and fry and flatten with your hands if you are a daredevil (like me) or if you are a sensible person who doesn’t like to get burned, a spatula is a handy tool. Fry on both sides until golden.
Remove from oil and place on a paper toweled plate to cool slightly. Garnish with sour cream, applesauce, or scallions.