Potato Pancakes

Try potato pancakes as an appetizer with sour cream and crispy prosciutto or as a dinner party side dish with seared steaks and creamed spinach. 

Make Ahead Tips

Cook potato pancakes several hours ahead to point just before final crisping.  Remove from pan, blot off excess oil.  Leave at room temperature and toast to crisp just before serving.

You can also lightly brown pancakes.  Once cooled, the pancakes may be frozen. Place in a freezer-safe container making sure that they don't overlap and put a double thickness of wax paper between each layer.   Freeze for up to 1 month.  Thaw slightly and proceed with recipe.

Cheese and Herb Potato Pancake
Makes 10-12 pancakes; recipe can be doubled

Your guests will be pleased to find a creamy cheese and fresh herbs inside these golden-brown potato cakes.   Serve cakes atop fresh salad greens with a tangy balsamic vinaigrette. 

You may use any soft cheese such as feta, blue, Swiss, havarti or fontina

1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes (about 3)
Salt and pepper
6 ounces mild goat cheese, crumbled; or other soft cheese.
1/3 cup minced soft herbs, such as parsley, basil, oregano or cilantro

Dressing and Salad
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoons chopped green onions

1/4 pound mixed salad greens

Prepare the potatoes:
Peel the potatoes and grate them on the coarse side of a grater; or cut the potatoes into julienne with a mandolin. Squeeze any excess liquid from the potatoes and stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Brush a large nonstick frying pan with about 1 tablespoon of oil. You may need to use two pans. Use about a hand-full of grated potatoes to make piles in the pan and press them into flat cakes about 2 1/2 inches in diameter.

Top each round of potatoes with a sixth of the cheese and a teaspoon of herbs.  Press the remaining grated potatoes onto the goat cheese so that the cheese is completely covered.

Put the pan over moderate heat and cook the potatoes just until they form a crust on the bottom, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the potato cakes until they are lightly browned on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Flip each potato cake. Cover and continue cooking until the potatoes are cooked through, about 10 minutes longer.

Uncover the pan and toast the potato cakes over low to moderately low heat until crisp and golden brown on the bottom, about 4-8 minutes longer. Flip the potato cakes and toast them on the second side until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes longer.

Prepare salad dressing and salad
In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the mustard, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and a pinch of pepper. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil slowly, whisking. Stir in the shallots, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the green onions or chives. Set this dressing aside

Just before the potato cakes are done, toss the salad with the dressing. Divide the greens among six plates and put the hot potato cakes on the greens.

Easy Cook Potato Pancakes
Makes about 8 pancakes

Potato pancakes can be prepared with mashed potatoes instead of grated potatoes.  Here's how. 

1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and cut
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

In medium saucepan, add potatoes to 2 inches boiling water. Return to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook, covered, about 12 minutes or until tender; drain.  Mash potatoes until smooth. Beat in buttermilk and egg until blended. Stir in flour, salt and pepper.

In large nonstick skillet, heat butter over medium heat. For each pancake, drop 2 tablespoons potato mixture into pan. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

Mix these add-ins to the mashed potatoes before adding the flour:
1 bacon slice, cooked and crumbled
2 tablespoons snipped chives
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme or parsley leaves