Thursday, April 21, 2011

Potato-Beet Pancakes

So, Tastespotting was doing a special feature about sour cream, and that was enough incentive for me to start thinking about what I could make.

My first thought was the beet salad that was my salad version of beet soup. The salad includes beets, cucumbers, and sour cream. But I already did that. I wanted something new. I started thinking about stacking the components, but I didn't have any cucumbers, so I started thinking about what else I could use.

So, what else goes with sour cream? I considered making a potato nest for the base .... or maybe potato pancakes.

And then the lightbulb lit. Why not make potato and beet pancakes? I figured that the color would be really pretty, and I knew the flavor would be interesting. When I told my husband about this plan, he looked skeptical, but I wasn't deterred. I knew it was going to work.

Besides, I had a lot of beets.

Sure, I could have done beet soup (and I probably will, and I'll serve it with sour cream) but once I had this pancake thing in my head, I had to make forge ahead.

I used my mandoline to make thin julienned shreds of both the potatoes and beets, so I had a chunkier texture. Grating would work just as well. The beets colored the potatoes pretty quickly, so what I ended up with was pink potatoes and darker bits of beets. I like the color, and the taste was darned good.

Tip: Grate the potatoes directly into a bowl of cool water. Then drain them completely before using. This will keep them from oxidizing and turning an ugly color.

The ratio of beets to potatoes can be anything you want, really. The beets I used were about 1/2 the size of the potatoes.

Instead of scallions, you could use onions or shallots

Potato Beet Pancakes

3 russet potatoes, peeled and shredded, julienned or grated
3 medium-small beets, cooked, peeled, and shredded, julienned, or grated
3 scallions, sliced thin, including the green part.

1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
Butter, for cooking
Sour cream, for serving

Combine the potatoes, beets, and scallions in a bowl. Add the flour and salt, and stir to distribute. Add the eggs and mix well.

Heat about a tablespoon of butter in a nonstick skillet on medium. When the butter has melted and the pan is hot, add spoonfulls of the potato-beet mixture, flattening it to a pancake shape as you go. I make mine about 3 inches in diameter, but you can make them any size you like. Tiny ones would make interesting appetizers.

Cook until the pancake is lightly browned on one side, then flip and cook until done on the second side. Continue making pancakes until all of the mixture is used up.

Serve pancakes with a dollop of sour cream. These are great hot or at room temperature.