Saturday, October 31, 2009

199. Grated Potato Pancake (Pommes Paillasson) (p. 566)

Ididn't really set out to make this recipe. Instead, I had planned on making The Book's recipe for Rösti. But, when I set out to cook the potatoes about an hour before we wanted to eat, I noticed that the Rosti recipe calls for the potatoes to be cooked and chilled for four hours. Scrach that, and move on to plan B. And what a delicious plan B it was.

First, I peeled a couple of potatoes (The Book calls for Russets, but I had bought the Yukon Golds called for in the Rosi recipe, oh, well), and grated them with the largest holes on my box grater. The Book says that you can also use a food processor, but grating potatoes is easy enough that I didn't think it was worth the effort of taking out the food processor and cleaning it afterward. I put the grated potatoes in a dishtowel a handful at a time and squeezed with all my might to get as much moisture out as I could. It's really amazing how much water you can get out of something so dense as a potato.

While I melted some butter in a nonstick skillet, I tossed the grated potatoes with some salt and pepper. I spread the grated potatoes on top of the melted butter and pressed down gently on the top with a spatula to compact it a bit. Then I left it alone for about twelve minutes to cook and get nice and crispy on the bottom.

Then, I carefully slid the pancake onto a plate (thank goodness for good nonstick pans). I placed another plate on top and flipped it over so that the browned side was facing up. I set it aside for a minute while I melted some more butter in the pan. Then I carefully slid the pancake back into the pan, browned side up. I cooked it for another twelve minutes or so until it was just as crispy as the first side. Finally, I slid the pancake onto a cutting board and cut it into six wedges.

I served this potato pancake with the Grilled Chicken Palliards and Nectarine Chutney that I made some time ago. It was really delicious. Crisp and buttery on the outside. And on the inside, nice and tender, but not quite mashed potatoes. Think McDonald's hash browns taken to the next level.

The Book notes that this dish is also known as Pommes Paillasson in France, loosely translated as "straw mat potatoes." I can see the comparison in terms of appearance and crispiness, but I can guarantee that this dish is a heck of a lot tastier than munching on a welcome mat.

Date Cooked:
September 6, 2009
Degree of Difficulty: Pretty Easy
Rating: A-

1 comment:

Gila S said...

This looks very much like what my father has always called a pletzel (other people use the term pletzel to refer to something else entirely) - basically a giant latke. He finishes his in the oven, but the technique is otherwise the same.