potato pancakes

Mashed Potato Pancakes

It has been said that on St. Patrick's Day everyone is Irish.

That's okay by me! I've been to Ireland. It's gorgeous. The people are friendly, the sites are interesting, the weather is glorious, the food is awesome. What's not to like?

The potato dishes are especially good.

Like mashed potato pancakes. You absolutely cannot go wrong making these. A terrific side dish with fish or at a vegetarian dinner. But, ya know, I've had these for dinner just by themselves, topped with sunnyside eggs (and served with some grilled tomatoes) and that's a perfect meal as far as I am concerned.

 

Mashed Potato Latkes

  • 2 pounds boiling potatoes (such as Yukon Golds)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, optional
  • 1 large egg
  • Panko crumbs
  • vegetable oil for frying

Wash the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Bring them to a boil in a large pan in lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Drain and, when cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes. Mash the potatoes in a bowl using a potato masher or ricer. Add the butter and the milk and stir them in. Stir in the chives, if used, and the egg. Make flat cakes, about 1/4-inch thick out of the potato mixture. Press each side of the cake into Panko crumbs. Heat about 1/4" vegetable oil in a cast iron or other heavy heat retaining skillet over moderately high heat. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side or until the pancakes are golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Makes about 12

Passover Potato Pancakes with Leeks, Feta Cheese and Mashed Potatoes

When is matzo brei actually a potato pancake?

When you mix them together. Like in this matzo-potato pancake which is a terrific lunch or brunch dish during Passover.

This has been one of my go-to dishes for years, after that time I wanted to use up all the matzo farfel instead of having to throw it away knowing I wouldn’t use it again when Passover was done. So I experimented using it like the soaked matzo of matzo brei and added different ingredients to see what we all liked. 

I’ve made a version of this with sauteed mushrooms. And some with plain old yellow onion. But this is the best.

Passover Potato Pancakes with Leeks, Feta Cheese and Mashed Potatoes

1 bunch leeks

2 cups matzo farfel

6 ounces crumbled feta cheese

2 cups mashed potatoes

1 large egg

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 

vegetable oil for frying

dairy sour cream or plain, Greek style yogurt, optional

Discard the dark green portions of the leeks, then wash the leaves carefully; rinse and chop into small pieces. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, add the leek pieces, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the leeks have softened. Drain and place the leeks in a mixing bowl. Place the farfel in another bowl, cover with hot water and let soak for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Drain the farfel, squeeze it as dry as possible and add to the leeks. Add the feta cheese, mashed potatoes and egg. Mix the ingredients thoroughly to distribute them evenly. Season with salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Heat about 1/8-inch vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Drop the farfel mixture by the heaping tablespoon into the hot fat. Flatten and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve plain or with sour cream or yogurt. Makes 4-6 servings

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream and Chives

Potato pancakes for breakfast? 

Yes indeed. It’s one of our New Year’s Day favorites. My cousins come to stay with us for a few days and we usually eat a couple of days of smoked fish (salmon, sturgeon, whitefish and herring) with bagels. But New Year’s Day should be a little more special so a couple of times I’ve made very large potato pancakes (like 6-inches) and served them with smoked salmon on top, capped with a blob of sour cream garnished with chopped fresh chives and sometimes with red salmon caviar.

Quite luxurious to eat. Beautiful and festive looking too. And it’s easy. You can make the pancakes ahead and reheat them to hot and crispy in a 425 degree oven, then serve them with the cold smoked salmon and sour cream on top.

I’ve given a potato pancake recipe before, but I change it slightly for New Year’s breakfast. When I couple it with something cold, like smoked fish, I prefer a shreddy texture — it makes crispier pancakes (so I don’t grate or chop the potatoes. I use the shredding blade on a food processor). I also don’t use baking powder because I like the pancake flatter and unpuffed — a better texture with the moist, cool fish.

Potato Pancakes with Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream and Chives

  • 4 large Russet-type baking potatoes, peeled

  • 1 large yellow onion

  • 3 tablespoons bread crumbs 

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • vegetable oil for frying

  • 12 large slices smoked salmon

  • dairy sour cream (about 1 cup)

  • chopped chives or salmon caviar

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Shred the potatoes and onion using the shredding disk of a food processor. Using a handful or two at a time, place the shreds into a kitchen towel and squeeze as much liquid out as possible, then place the shreds in a bowl. Repeat with the remaining potato-onion mixture. Add the bread crumbs and toss the ingredients. Add the eggs, salt and pepper and mix to distribute the ingredients thoroughly. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Heat about 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to make a bread crumb sizzle, fry each portion, one at a time, for 2-3 minutes per side or until browned and crispy. Keep each pancake warm in the preheated oven until you finish frying all the batter. Place the pancakes on 6 plates. Top each with two slices of salmon. Top with a blob of sour cream in the center. Garnish the top of the sour cream with some chopped chives or a dollop of salmon caviar.

Makes 6 servings 

Potato Latkes Kinder on Knuckles and Nails

One year I made 100 potato latkes for my brother and sister-in-law’s annual Hanukkah party. That wasn’t enough according to everyone.

I have to ask here — are there ever enough potato latkes?

So I made 100 more.

Okay, I admit they were small, mini-latkes, about 1-1/2” size. Still, I did make 200 of them.

My hands were red and raw. Forget the manicure! I shouldn’t have bothered with one. And the thing is, these latkes went so fast that they were devoured in less time than it had taken me to even peel all the potatoes.

The year after that I suggested that they buy the latkes and I would bring a giant homemade challah. That’s been the deal since 2008.

Since then I still make potato latkes for my kids and grandkids (maybe a double recipe) and I have figured out a way to prepare the potatoes in a food processor and have them come out like the old fashioned hand grated kind.

In a food processor you really can’t “grate” the potatoes. You can either shred or chop them. Neither is exactly right for old fashioned potato latkes. So, I shred the potatoes first, then put them back inside the workbowl and use the S-blade to chop them finer (but chopping AFTER shredding results in a more grater-like chop). The result is almost grated potatoes.

It is MUCH kinder on hands, knuckles and nails and MUCH quicker too. Here’s the recipe:

Potato Latkes

4 large Russet-type baking potatoes, peeled

1 large yellow onion

3 tablespoons matzo meal, bread crumbs or potato starch

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

vegetable oil for frying

Shred the potatoes and onion using the shredding disk of a food processor. Remove the vegetables to a bowl. Replace the shredding disk with the S-blade and put the vegetables back into the workbowl. Pulse until the potato shreds are much smaller and look “grated.” Using a handful or two at a time, place the mixture into a kitchen towel and squeeze as much liquid out as possible, then place the mixture in a bowl. Repeat with the remaining potato-onion mixture. Add the matzo meal and toss the ingredients. Add the eggs, salt, pepper and baking powder and mix to distribute the ingredients thoroughly. Heat about 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to make a matzo meal crumb sizzle, add some of the potato mixture to the pan, forming small pancakes, anywhere from 1-1/2-inch size to 3-inch size. Be sure to leave ample space between each latke so that they fry properly — if they are too close they will “steam” slightly and the latkes will be soggy. Be sure the vegetable oil remains hot — if the temperature gets too low the latkes may become soggy. Fry the latkes for 2-3 minutes per side or until crispy and browned. Drain on paper towels. Makes 24 small or 12 large pancakes