Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Potato Pancakes

As a young girl, my mother used to make us eat potato pancakes. She would put the potatoes in the blender and mix the potato puree with flour and salt and fry it up. I would moan and groan and call up my best friend Beth and see if I could have dinner over at her house. My mom's potato pancakes weren't exactly my favorite thing for dinner.

In college, in Ann Arbor, I worked at a mostly authentic German Restaurant. The potato pancakes there were crispy and bore an interesting similarity to McDonald's hashbrowns. The chef tried to teach me how to make them, but my newly minted legal drinking status usually overuled and the chef, the other waitstaff and I would usually end up having a couple rounds of Jagermeister instead. Once thoroughly drunk we'd snack after hours on Lungajager (I really have no idea how to spell it, but it's a tasty German sausage) and potato pancakes.

I remember telling my mom about how delicious these pancakes were and how they were totally unlike hers. See my mom's didn't even look like they had potatoes in them. My mom then shared with me the secret reason why she made her potato pancakes the way she did. It's because when she was a girl there was always blood in the potato pancakes from someone grating some finger with the potatoes and onions. Although the reasoning is sound, I sort of shrugged it off as silly.

So today I made my own potato pancakes for the first time. I found a delicious recipe in the book Healthy Cooking for Two (or Just You). I really enjoyed them with some applesauce. They didn't taste like my mom's and they didn't taste like a McDonald's hashbrown. They were just right and I'll definitely be making them again.

And although I didn't grate my fingers until I was doing the dishes, I understand why Mom put the potatoes in the blender.

Potato Pancakes
2 servings

2 medium baking potatoes
2 large egg whites
2 Tbsp coarsley grated onion
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp Canola oil

Peel the potatoes and coarsley shred them with a grater onto 2 paper towels. Gently twist the towels and the potatoes over the sink to wring out excess liquid, thenplace the potatoes in a mixing bowl.

Beat the egg whites in a small bowl until foamy and add to the potatoes along with the onions, salt, and pepper. Toss gently to blend, sprinkle with the flour and toss again.

Brush a heavy 10" nonstick skillet with 1 teaspoon of the oil and preheat for 1 to 2 minutes on medium heat. Drop in the potato mixture by 1/2 cup measuring cup to make 2 pancakes. Flatten them out with the back of a pancake turner (spatula) and cook for about 7 minutes flipping to the other side halfway through the cooking time. Pancakes should be crisp and browned. Repeat with remaining batter to make 2 more pancakes. Serve with applesauce.
Per serving: 162 calories, 5g total fat, 0.4g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 589mg sodium, 4.6g protein, 26.2g carbohydrates, 2.8g dietary fiber


glamah16 said...

I love a crispy potato pancake with applesauce. Now ith todays appliances you wont loose much blood in the process:-).

Deborah said...

I think I would have just stayed away from potatoes instead of blending them if I was traumatized by them! These sound delish!

anna said...

potato pancakes are my grandpa's favorite! with grandma gone, he's been trying to cook for himself. after 63 years of being cooked for by my grandma, that's a tough task. so i'm definitely going to take this recipe to his house soon.
p.s. i'm glad you and the brain had a nice valentines day! being together is great, isn't it?!

LisaRene said...

Oh, yes, I recall grandma's homemade potato pancakes, they were perfect like yours. The comment about the blood cracked me up, it was so unexpected! Ouch!

Anonymous said...

Two comments. First: What is this Jagermeister of which you speak? I've heard the name, did it exist in the early '80s when I was doing all my shots in college? Shots just meant tequila.

Second: My mother thought potato pancakes were what you did with leftover mashed potatos the next day when you fried them in butter. Blecch. I finally learned to make latkes. MUCH better.

Mary said...

Marti- Jagermeister is a herbal liquor from Germany. It's name, literally translated means Master Hunter. It's sweet and best served icy cold. I think in Germany it's supposed to be a digestif. And it has quite a kick to it. It was around in the entire decade of the 90s when I was in college. Yes, I was in college for the entire decade getting just a bachelor's degree.

Courtney- Yes, a food processor with a shredding blade would work great.

Deb- I couldn't stay away from potato pancakes made right. But if I was traumatized I might just not make them anymore. :)

Anna- I'm so glad you can share this with your grandpa! It makes 4 fairly big pancakes so he can save half of them for another meal if that's too much for him! (and yeah it's great being together!)

LisaRene- You should have seen my face when my mom told me about blood in the pancakes! Maybe you can alter the recipe so it doesn't have eggs in it?

Bellini Valli said...

Potatoes are my favourite food group as you prpbably already know. Maybe I'll have these for breakfast tomorrow :D Today it is Nutella sandwiches :D