Potato pancakes have always been something of a mystery to me. I think I always just assumed they were like regular pancakes, but made with some sort of potato flour...maybe a bit less sweet? For people with gluten allergies? It all stems back to my childhood. In my home town, there's a restaurant called The Potato Shack (of little interest to a 10 year old boy in the 80s), which I would often confuse with Radio Shack (of great interest to a 10 year old boy in the 80s), and consequently found to be a big letdown. So, it stands to reason that potato pancakes would also be a big letdown.
Not so, not so.
They're much less like pancakes than hashbrowns in delicious cake form.
And they're pretty simple to make.
- 5 medium-sized russet potatoes
- 1 large white onion, peeled
- non-sweet replacement for two eggs (Energ-G(tm), ground flaxseed, etc)
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper, to taste
Grate the onion and potatoes into a large bowl. Mix them. Then, mix in the remaining ingredients. The consistency should be paste-like--you can add flour or water to control this in either direction.
Heat oil or Earth Balance in a frying pan over medium heat, and dollop in some "batter". When the bottom is brown, flip. The pancake, not you. Well, I guess if you can flip, now would be an excellent time. Do a flip both before and after flipping the pancake. And then again before serving, if possible. The pancake is done when both sides are brown (golden brown will produce a softer pancake, darker brown, a more crispy pancake--I prefer the crispier/darker).
What makes or breaks potato pancakes, though, is what you serve them with.
We have served these with applesauce and cashew cream (traditionally, potato latkes are served with applesauce and/or sour cream). I thought they were stellar with the cashew cream.
This time around, we served them with the leftover filling from our momelette--sauteed onions, peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes.