Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Scallion potato pancakes & horseradish cream

The bacon and egg pizza had me yearning for California. It reminded me of another Californian restaurant from our most recent visit last summer: ad hoc. I decided to flip through my copy of ad hoc at home since so much time had passed since I last cooked from it

Knowing that I had scallions leftover from last weekend and several russet potatoes in the pantry, I decided to make scallion potato pancakes. This is probably one of the easiest recipes in the whole cookbook. I especially loved learning a new tip: rinsing and spinning the shredded potatoes in a salad spinner before sprinkling them with cornstarch prevent them from discoloring! I was so amazed by this revelation. Not only does the cornstarch keep them from discoloring, but it also acts as a binder without using an egg and keeps the potatoes crisp. In the past, I would use my hands to squeeze out the excess liquid from the potatoes, but they would still discolor! As an added bonus, using the salad spinner really helped minimize the mess.

Oddly, as much as Aaron and I love breakfast potatoes of any kind, potato pancakes aren't a favorite. Neither of us can quite articulate why, but traditional Polish pancakes or Jewish latkes never excited us. The sour cream and/or apple sauce condiment didn't do much for us either. In fact, my Asian tendencies had me using ketchup. That all changed with this recipe, especially with the horseradish cream. Given that this recipe only called for potatoes and cornstarch, there were no distracting flavors or textures. I didn't layer them as written in the recipe though, and this allowed some of the stray potato shreds to crisp up. I am looking forward to using the leftover horseradish cream with corned beef!

Scallion potato pancakes
adapted from ad hoc at home
makes 6 pancakes

3 lb russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 c cornstarch
3 scallions
grapeseed oil

1. Using your food processor, shred the potatoes. Rinse the shredded potatoes in a bowl. Using a salad spinner, drain the shredded potatoes and spin them to release the excess liquid
2. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the potatoes and gently toss to distribute evenly
3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
4. Heat 1 tsp of grapeseed oil in a small nonstick pan over medium heat. When a droplet of water sizzles, spread a layer of shredded potatoes in the pan (about 1/2 cup). Season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tsp of thinly sliced scallions. Do not press down on the potatoes to keep them light and airy. Allow the potatoes to cook for about 5-8 minutes until the desired golden brown hue is reached. Carefully flip and continue to cook for another 5-8 minutes
5. Place the cooked potato pancakes onto a baking sheet in the warmed oven until ready to serve
6. Serve with horseradish cream (below) and thinly sliced scallions

Horseradish cream
adapted from ad hoc at home
makes 1/2 cup

1/4 c heavy cream
1 tbsp sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tbsp drained prepared horseradish (squeeze in paper towel)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. In a medium bowl, whisk the heavy cream and vinegar until the cream holds a soft shape
2. Whisk in the horseradish, salt and pepper. Refrigerate in a covered container up to 1 week. 

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