Monday, March 11, 2013

Party Streamer Potato Pancakes with Confetti Yogurt

Potatoes get such a bad rap, sometimes, right? But it's not their fault people insist on slathering them with butter and sour cream.

Potatoes on their own have plenty of good things going for them. A skin-on, medium-sized (5.3 ounce) potato has just 110 calories, more potassium than a banana and almost half your daily value of vitamin C (45 percent). And you get that with zero fat, sodium or cholesterol.

And they're so versatile. And tasty. And attractive. I mean seriously, when I was growing up, potatoes had brown skins or red skins. Now there are potatoes with purple, pink, and yellow flesh, and as much variety in the skins. I've got to say that it makes presentation so much prettier.

When I got an offer to compete in 2013 Munch Madness Potato Goodness, I was intrigued. Hosted by Knuckle Salad and Kitchen Play, and sponsored by United States Potato Board, this is a recipe playoff, with predictive bracketing and public voting to determine the winner.

Oooh, I like cooking contests. And I love potatoes.

Now that winter is (mostly, sort of) behind us, it's time to shake off the winter coat, winter colors, and winter cuisine, and spring into ... well, spring. These potato pancakes are light and the topping is bright. The flavors are fresh and the multi-colored vegetables are perfect for spring.

I used white, red, and purple potatoes. If you don't happen to have multiple colors, you can still make the dish, but I do think the purple potato adds great color that you won't get from anything else.

Meanwhile, the topping includes crunchy cucumber, zesty radish, and herby chives. The colors peek through the yogurt like bits of rainbow confetti. You can lighten this dish up even more by using a lowfat or no-fat Greek-style yogurt. But even if you're using a full-fat yogurt, it's a lot lighter than sour cream.

When you're preparing the potatoes, drop the julienned strips cold water. This keeps them from browning. Drain them well just before you mix. I used rather small potatoes, so it took five to get the 2 cups of julienned potatoes. If you're using larger potatoes, figure 2-3 will be fine.

As far as cutting all those vegetables, your best bet is to use a mandolin that will do the julienne cuts for you. You could also shred, but you wouldn't get the same visual effect. It would still taste good, though.

Party Streamer Pancakes
with Confetti Yogurt

Recipe © by Do not republish without permission.
For the pancakes:
2 cups peeled and julienned potatoes
1 small zucchini, julienned.
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths, and cut into thin ribbons (to match julienne size)
1/3 red bell pepper, cut to match julienne
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
Butter/oil. for cooking

For the yogurt:
1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt
1 small pickling cucumber, small dice
1 teaspoon thinly sliced chive
1 radish, small dice
Pinch of salt

To make the pancakes:
In a medium bowl, combine the potatoes, zucchini, scallion, and red pepper. Sprinkle with the flour and salt. Stir well to coat the vegetables with the flour (and this keeps you from getting flour lumps. Add the eggs and stir to combine.

Heat a nonstick pan on medium heat and add butter, vegetable oil (or a combo of the two) - just a little bit to coat the pan very lightly. Using a medium scoop or large spoon, portion the vegetable mixture into the pan, flattening the scoops as you go to make pancakes. Unless you've got a huge pan, you'll probably be cooking this in batches.

Cook until the pancakes are browned on one side, then flip and cook on the second side until they're browned the vegetables are cooked through. The first side you cook will be more eggy and pancake-looking, while the second side will give a much better view of the vegetables.

As you cook, it's inevitable that bits of vegetable will detach from the pancakes. You shouldn't have a lot of them - just a few. Make sure they're cooked through, and save them for a garnish.

I usually move potato pancakes to a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb any extra fat - these shouldn't have a lot, but you can do the same. If you need to keep them warm while you continue to cook, you can put them in a slightly warm oven..

To make the yogurt:
Simply mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. You can make this well ahead of time, if you like, and keep it refrigerated until serving.

Serve the potato pancakes warm, with a dollop of the yogurt on top and a garnish of the spare bits of cooked vegetables and/or a few bits of chive. Pass more yogurt at the table, if you like.

Thanks to Knuckle SaladKitchen Play, and US Potatoes, for sponsoring this event and inviting me to participate!

For more potato goodness, go visit your favorite spuds on Facebook and Pinterest.