What’s cooking today: Potato fritters
Call them rustic hash browns if you like. Americans might call them pancakes, but that doesn’t tie in with our South African idea of a thin, eggy pancake. These are quite chunky, more like the Swiss rösti.
A rösti fills the entire pan and is cut into wedges, and these potato fritters, or hash browns, are much like rösti although I made four separate rounds in a large iron frying pan. You could fill an entire pan with this amount of the potato mixture. These are much less eggy than pannekoek/South African pancakes, the eggs here being used as more of a binding agent than a key component. It’s all about the grated potatoes…
To zhoosh them up a bit I added grated Parmigiano Reggiano and chopped chives. We had them for breakfast with bacon and eggs, but you could serve them for dinner with a steak or even just have them on their own as an indulgent snack. Best for breakfast though, I think.
4 medium potatoes, grated
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic chives, chopped finely
¼ cup flour
¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
Grate the potatoes with the regular side of a grater, not finely. You can peel them or just wash and dry them and grate the potato, skin and all.
Put the grated potato in the centre of a clean kitchen towel, wrap it up tightly and squeeze it out over the sink. You’ll be surprised at how much water comes out. That water component in a potato is the reason why chips, before deep-frying, have to be patted thoroughly dry before hitting the oil, to capture and hold that moisture inside what you hope will be crispy, fluffy chips.
Chop the onion finely, and the garlic chives.
Put the grated potato, chives and onion in a fairly large bowl, add the flour and grated Parmigiano Reggiano (or other Parmesan-like cheese) and combine well with a wooden spoon.
Season generously with salt (potatoes need rather a lot) and less generously with ground black pepper. Combine again with the wooden spoon to distribute the salt especially.
Make a well in the mixture. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, pour in, and combine well yet again.
Melt the butter in a large, heavy frying pan with the olive oil.
Form rounds of the mixture with your hands and put them in the sizzling fat. Leave them alone for about 10 minutes on a lowish heat so that they are firm and golden brown at the bottom before turning them, then cook the other side for about another 10. Season with salt and pepper before and after turning them. If they are particularly thick, cook them a little longer but be careful that the heat isn’t so high that it burns them. For much of the cook mine were on the lowest gas setting but on the largest plate on the stove.
A little chopped parsley as a garnish wouldn’t go amiss, or chopped chives. DM/TGIFood
Tony Jackman is the Galliova Food Champion of the Year, 2021, for his food writing. His book, foodSTUFF, is now available in the DM Shop. Buy it here.
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