Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Potato Pancake Hors D'oeuvres

Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes is a staple... but what to do with the unused spuds? I mean, let's face it... generally they just stay at the bottom of the pantry and grow creepy eyes... so let us actually turn these 'black sheep' left-over potatoes into an elegant pass-around hors d'oeuvre, shall we?

Easy recipe... not only can these be used as hors d'oeuvres, but a simple breakfast as well. Bonus.

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes - peel and grate fine
1 leek - chop fine - only the white stalk (discard the green)
1 shallot - small dice
1 garlic clove - mince fine
1 Tbsp herbs de Provence
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Walnut oil

Place bacon on a medium-heat in a sauté pan. Allow to the fat to render and bacon to cook. Once crisp, remove the bacon from the pan and place on a paper towel in order to absorb the grease and remain dry/crispy.

On a medium heat, sauté shallot, leek and garlic together until tender in rendered bacon fat/walnut oil. To prevent from burning, keep the heat on medium and stir occasionally. This should take about 10 minutes until the mixture is tender and the aroma begin to permeate the kitchen. Once tender, remove from the heat. The smells that are created when cooking are just one of the many delights of cooking... especially when they force people into the kitchen in order to investigate what is creating the mouth-watering fragrance.

In a large bowl, combine the grated potatoes, shallot/garlic/leek mixture and parmesan cheese thoroughly. Shape into small pancakes (about 2 minutes in diameter and 1/2 inch thick). In a clean sauté pan, heat walnut oil on a medium heat and gently drop each of the potato pancakes. Allow to cook through (about 4 minutes each side). Each side will develop a golden, crispy crust. Brilliant play on texture... crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

Party for the taste buds? You better believe it!

A unique topping to enhance the potato pancakes? Not just hummus... not just guacamole... but rather, guacamole hummus.

1 can cooked chickpeas - rinse well (to remove the "tinny-taste") and dry
1 medium avocado
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Walnut oil (to thin the mixture)
1 jalapeño - seeded and chopped fine
1 small clove garlic - smash and mince fine
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor/Vitamix and blend until smooth. Drizzle the walnut oil until the mixture forms a smooth consistency (yet firm enough to hold its shape... too thin and it will slide off of the pancakes). Season with salt and pepper.

When plating, place a small dollop of the guacamole hummus atop the potato pancake, then top with a sliver of the crisp bacon and a few cherry tomato halves (will provide a beautiful red color). Sprinkle with freshly-cut cilantro.

In order to enjoy the pancakes as more of a meal (think breakfast), simply shape into larger pancakes when forming initially. After cooking, top with crumbled blue cheese and toasted pine nuts... the blue cheese will melt into the pancakes and the toasted pine nuts will provide a hint of crunch in order to play with the texture of the pancakes.

Not too shabby, eh?

I recently created the composed potato pancake as an amuse bouche for a four-course meal.

Second-in line was a chicken consume with fresh basil, roasted cherry tomatoes, lavender, drizzle of truffle oil and dollop of Greek yogurt.

Third-course was a brilliant filet mignon with mashed potatoes (hence why I had additional potatoes left and ultimately used for the potato pancake... ah ha, creativity!), sautéed calamari and drizzle of jus.

To top off the meal, a shortbread cookie with white chocolate and raspberry coulis. Fresh mint and edible flowers provided a spark of freshness, as well as necessary color to compliment the humble cookie.

Be creative. Be inspired. If you have an idea, trust your intuition. Sometimes you will succeed. Other times you will fail. But you will never know until you try...

"Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE" - Josh Wheldon


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