Potato Pancakes with Horseradish Sour Cream

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I love potato pancakes. Or "latkes" if you like. They're crispy, filling, delicious, and look a hell of a lot harder than they are to actually make. I whipped these suckers up for a German-inspired meal a few weeks ago and loved both how tasty and easy they were to make. This recipe makes around 14 small bite-sized ones, but the best part is you can easily double or even triple the recipe if you want to make them for a party.
They taste fresh, so unfortunately this is one of those appetizers best served hot for a small dinner party. Goes great with champagne, but we found them to go equally as well with good beer! If you must make them in advance for a party, fry them up about 30 minutes before you want to serve them, then keep them warm in a 300 degree oven for up to 20 minutes. Any longer than that and you'll burn them. But again, they are best served right out of the frying pan.
And you can top them with whatever you like. I simply added horseradish to sour cream for a sweet and spicy bite to the cold cream that paired nicely with the crispy mild cake. You can also top with caviar, smoked salmon, or even a fabulous spiced apple compote. The options are endless!
Potato Pancakes with Horseradish Sour Cream
2 large Russett potato
1 small white onion
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp grated prepared horseradish (not cream)
Combine the sour cream and horseradish (to taste) in a small bowl. Set aside.
Peel the potatoes and wash them. Using a box grater, carefully grate the potatoes. It helps if you cut the large poatoes in half, and then grate the two smaller pieces. Peel the onion and grate it also. Using a few paper towels, drain all the excess water out of the potatoes and onions. You'll be surprised how much water is actually retained in them. By doing this, you'll ensure a crispier cake and not a soggy one.
Set the grated potato and onion in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste (about a 1/4 tsp of salt and a small pinch of pepper is good as you're going to salt them again when they come out of the oil), add the egg and flour and with a spatula, gently fold the mixture together until well combined. Use flour as needed until the mixture holds.
*To see if the consistency is good, take a large pincyh of the mixture and gently press it into a ball in your hands - if it keeps its form it's good; if it falls apart then add more flour.
Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan. When oil is hot, add about a heaping teaspoon worth of the potato mixture right into the oil, then using the flat back of a spatula, gently press down on the top to flatten it out into a pancake shape. Depending on the size of your frying pan, you can fry about 4-8 at one time, but be careful not to overcrowd the pan as this will bring the temperature of the oil down and you'll end up steaming your potato cakes and not frying them crispy. You will have to do these in batches, so make sure you drain out the oil between batches and refill with fresh vegetable oil. This will also help get rid of any stray pieces of potato that will burn, and give each cake that perfect golden color.
Transfer cakes as they are fried to a baking sheet lined with a wire cooling rack. This will drain the excess oil for you.
Serve hot with the horseradish sour cream.
My Notes:
For easy clean-up, line your baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch the oil. This way when they are done draining, all you have to do is throw out the foil and not have to wash the whole sheet!
If you are making them in advance, place the cakes on the cooking rack on the baking sheet right in the oven, all together. This will help the cakes stay crisp as well.

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