Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Here's another recipe I got from the French Laundry cookbook.

I've tried to make potato pancakes from scratch before, and I haven't been too successful, but this recipe is excellent. The final product has a great mouth feel and is a great vehicle for other things on top.

You can serve these as an appetizer with savory toppings. You can serve them as a side dish, or you can make them big and serve them for breakfast! (I think that's what Crystal wants the most.)

1 lb Yukon gold potatoes
2 Eggs
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 tablespoons creme fraiche (or sour cream)
Kosher salt to taste
White pepper to taste

You want to keep two eggs whole and separate out the yolk from the third.

Put the potatoes in a pan with cold water and make sure there is at least two inches of water on top of the potatoes. If you start with cold water, the final texture of the cooked potato is more creamy and consistent, not gummy.

Bring to a boil and when it boils, turn down to a simmer. Cook the potatoes until the potatoes are throughly cooked and tender. The whole process, from cold water to finish took me about a half hour, but if you get to a boil quicker, it will take less time. Once the water boils, turn it down!! If you continue to boil the potatoes, the starch granules will explode, and the final product won't be as nice!

Here's a nice simmer.

When the potatoes are done, peel them. They will be hot, but it is important to keep them warm, because if the potatoes cool down too much they won't absorb the liquids later.

I mashed them with a hand masher and ran them through the food processor to get all the lumps out. A food mill would be nice, a potato ricer, or a tamis.

A tamis is nice because it makes the potato very fine and consistent.

Weigh out 9 ounces of potato (a little more than half of your original product. Whisk in the flour and two tablespoons of the cream.

Add one egg, whisk until the batter is smooth and the egg is well incorporated, add another egg, whisk until smooth and incorporated, and add the yolk last.

Here's the consistency you want. It holds a thick "V" when you pour it, but it isn't too thick or too runny.

If it's too thick, add some sour cream.

If it's too runny, add a pinch of flour.

Cook the blinis in a non stick pan. You can fry them in butter, but if you want a more even browning, just right in the pan is great.

You can do whatever size you want. Here, I'm making them for hors d'oeuvre, but if I were making them for breakfast, I would do a five inch diameter circle.

Here they are topped with smoked salmon and a touch of cream cheese on the left and bacon on the right.

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