Potato Pancakes

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Potato Pancakes are one of the most delicious snacks in the world! Since I was a child I've loved cooking them. I've eaten all sorts of varieties from freshly made, to out of the box, and even frozen. This recipe is the best I've made from scratch. Please try them out and let me know what you think.

 

Makes 8-12 pancakes (depending on size)

 

To make this recipe you will need the following equipment and utensils:

  • A box grater
  • A potato peeler
  • A sieve
  • A large bowl for mixing
  • A set of measuring spoons
  • A non-stick sauté pan
  • A fish slice / plastic spatula
  • A baking sheet lined with a few layers of paper towels
  • An oven-safe serving plate
  • A warming oven with 2 racks
     

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 large potatoes with lots of dirt on them (scrubbed, peeled, shredded on box grater)
  • 1/2 white onion (outer layer & skin removed, then grated on box grater)
  • 1 organic egg (free-range is okay if you can't find organic)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of organic white flour
  • 1 level teaspoon garlic powder
  • Freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • Best-quality sunflower oil (1 small bottle will be enough)
  • 1 level teaspoon salt (to be used as seasoning on top of the potatoes once in they're in sauté pan. If you season the potatoes in the bowl they will release TONS of water and starch.)

 

As you read above, there's a certain number of things you're going to need before frying up a batch of these delicious treats. Make sure that you have all these items before starting so your cooking process is easy and fun.

To start, turn on your oven to a low temperature, such as 100 degrees F, but NOT too hot because you don't want your paper towels to catch fire (you'll read about that step further on). Don't worry about pre-heating your oven because you're not baking the pancakes. You can simply turn it on when you start gathering all of your ingredients and utensils. Your oven will warm up enough as you prepare your ingredients and while you cook. The oven is used in this recipe to keep your cooked pancakes warm and to keep your serving dish warm.

Before you prepare any ingredients make sure that your baking sheet is lined with lots of layers of paper towels. Place this lined tray in the oven and put pancakes on it as you cook them to keep them warm. Then, place your serving plate in the oven as well, but make sure it's on a rack. (You never want to put a plate or bowl on the bottom of your oven.) I find it surprising how many people and even restaurants spend so much effort to make hot food, and then end up serving it on warm or even cold plates. If you're going to the trouble of making some delicious food from scratch, then it's 100% worth it to serve it to your family, friends or guests on appropriately heated or chilled plates (depending upon what you're serving). If you don't believe me, try it out with this recipe and see what you think. Personally, I think it makes a HUGE difference in serving hot food on a hot plate.

Now it's time to start preparing your ingredients. Begin by scrubbing off all the dirt on the potatoes.(This is a sign that they're fresh out of the ground and not dipped in any chemicals to preserve them for a "long shelf life". This is the main ingredient in the dish, so it's worth putting in the effort to find the best potatoes that you can. If you can't find them at the store, then try your local farmer's market and pick up some other fresh organic ingredients while you're there to make the most of your time).

Once the potatoes are scrubbed, peel them and place on a clean plate or bowl. Then, using the largest size of your box grater, grate the potatoes into large shreds (like you would do for making hash brown potatoes or shredded cheese). Once you're done grating the potatoes, put them in a large bowl and cover them completely with water. This "blanching" process will make the water go a bit cloudy as some of the starch separates into the water. You definitely want to do this part because if not the potatoes will be like a solid mush when you cook them. Trust me, I've skipped this part when I was really hungry and thought it wouldn't make a difference but it really does. I know this recipe might seem a bit lengthy just for some pancakes, but if you follow this recipe carefully you will produce the best results.

Next, take your onion, cut it in half (it doesn't matter which direction), peel the outer tougher layers away from the onion and grate that half on the box grater, using the same side as you did with the potatoes. Put the grated onion into a small bowl for now. Wrap up the other half of the onion and use it for another dish.

Going back to the potatoes, strain the water out with your sieve and place all of the potato into the same large bowl. Get all of the shreds of potato from the sieve; the more you get into the bowl, the more yummy pancakes you will have! To the potatoes, add in the onion, egg, flour, pepper, and garlic powder. (DO NOT add the salt). Mix everything together by hand.

Next, put a few tablespoons on oil into the pan and heat to a medium to high heat. Each stove is different so there's not an exact number or setting that I am able to provide. However, I have a couple tips to help you know if your pan is too cold or too hot. You are pan frying the pancakes, so it does really need to be hot enough to get your job done. If the pan is not hot enough the pancakes will just soak up tons of oil and will become a greasy mess; that is NOT what you want to end up with. 

My first tip is to get a tablespoon size amount of your seasoned mixture and drop it carefully into the hot oil. If is immediately sizzles and starts to crisp up, then you can add larger size drops of mixture into the pan and continue cooking the remaining pancakes like this. If, when you're going to add the mixture to the pan and it's smoking, then you know your oil is way too hot. Simply move it to another place on your stove and let it cool down a bit before cooking. If you cook with smoking oil it will taste burned and will most likely also burn your pancakes. Essentially, you're looking for the sweet spot between both of these levels of oil temperature. The best thing I can say is to try cooking these a couple times and you will have a much better understanding of how the pan frying process works each time you use this recipe. 

Once your oil is heated to the correct temperature and you hear that sizzling sound from your small sample pancake, then make sure to season with a little salt, and as mentioned, cook up the rest of your mixture in small or large pancakes; however you desire, and seasoning each with a little salt as you go. You will know to flip the pancakes when the edges become golden brown and crispy. Be especially careful when flipping them over though because you're working with very hot oil and you don't want to splash the oil all over or burn yourself.

Remember to continue putting each cooked pancake onto the lined tray in your oven as you go. Once all the pancakes are finished cooking you can place them on the warmed serving dish. Garnish with some freshly chopped herbs, scallions or any type of sauces you like. I personally LOVE using my own homemade ketchup as a dipping sauce. I hope you enjoy these delicious bites of crispy potato pancakes!

 

© Copyright 2018 Chef Daniel Lubin. All rights reserved. You may use this recipe for personal use only. You may not use this recipe in any other way without expressed written permission by Chef Daniel Lubin.