scallion potato pancake

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I know it’s slightly sadistic to involve a grater on Sunday mornings (grated finger – what a way to wake up) but I love love love fried, crispy things first thing in the morning. A rummage in the pantry for some forgotten potatoes and a bit of help from Thomas Keller – and we have the bigger, better brother of the hashbrown.

 

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Usually latkes/hashbrowns/potato cakes (whatever they are called) are bound with egg – this one’s bound with cornflour, which keeps it nice and crisp. Apart from, the unconventional binder, the second reason for posting such a simple recipe is to alert you to the method of rinsing the grated potato in cold water. Without the excess starch, the potato cake is light and for some reason, cooks faster.

I’ve already made this twice in less than five days. (The second time was fried in duck fat – yum!) If it all sounds rather labour intensive, if not on a Sunday morning then when?

 

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Scallion Potato Cakes
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home

It’s the small things that count in Ad Hoc at Home. For example, the cornflour is doused around the sides of the bowl to distribute it evenly. And somehow, rinsing the potatoes of their starch makes them easier to cook. By the way, if you have a salad spinner, use that to dry the grated potatoes! Much easier.

Serves 2 as part of breakfast

Cut thinly on a severe diagonal, separating the white and green ends:
3 spring onions
Using a coarse grater, grate:
3 medium sized potatoes, preferably royal blue
Immediately dunk the shredded potato into a bowl of cold water. Swirl and rinse out the starchy water. Drain the in a colander. Grab small fistfuls and squeeze out excess water. The potato doesn’t need to be ultra dry, just less damp. Empty the potato into a bowl. Around the sides of the bowl, add:
1/4 cup cornflour
sliced white ends of spring onions

Toss the grated potato with the cornflour. Do not let the potatoes sit for long as they will release their starch and become sticky. Heat a 20cm frypan on high heat. When the pan is hot, turn the heat to medium and add:
3 tbsp vegetable oil, or duck fat
Add the grated potato mixture, spreading to cover the base of the pan. Add all the grated mixture to make an even disc. (For a light texture, avoid pressing down). Season with salt and pepper. The potato cake should always be sizzling – if the pan gets dry, dribble extra oil around the edges. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes – the strands of potato will become slightly translucent.
Flip the potato cake. I use a huge spatula for this, but if it’s looking fragile, invert the hashbrown on a cookie sheet and slide it back in, browned side up. Cook until deliciously golden and crisp.
Sprinkle over the remaining:
sliced green ends of spring onions
Eat with hammy baked beans, poached egg and sausages! (Goes well with duck too.)

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