Saturday, November 30, 2013

mashed potato pancakes

If ever I had foreseen, during the 2.5 years this blog has been in existence, that I would be writing a recipe with a mere TWO ingredients (and for Thanksgiving, no less), I think I might have quit on the spot.  This is the future of food writing?  There is no need to go on.

Well.  This recipe isn't exactly for Thanksgiving; it's for those lazy days afterwards when you've eaten too much and walked too little, and your fridge is crowded with leftovers that are perfectly fine on their own, but why not spruce things up a little?  I learned the magic of doctoring leftovers a few years ago, when I went down to Jersey to spend Thanksgiving with a friend who had just gotten back from two years in the Peace Corps—lucky her, living in Kazakhstan right when Borat became a thing.  Most of her family had come to Jersey to welcome her back, and we all sat down to Thanksgiving dinner that had been cooked on a hotel stove with only a couple of pots, one pan, and a colander.  It was delightful.

For some reason, during that dinner I learned the Russian word for pancake (blin—pronounced 'bleen'), which was totally appropriate for two reasons:

First, because in Russian, 'blin' can be shouted as an expression of dismay, as in 'darn!' or 'dagnabit!'
This was done several hundred times during some rousing games of Apples to Apples.

Second, because of the next day, when my friend's dad whipped out the leftover mashed potatoes, made little pancakes, and fried them.

Let me repeat that.  Mashed potatoes.  In pancake shape.  Browned.  And a little crispy.  If any of those words are unappealing to you, we might have to have a chat.  Just two friends sitting down to chat about blini.  And at the end of it, you will have seen the error of your ways.

(Plus, what a super low-maintenance way to make latkes.  No need to wait another 70,000 years for the next Thanksgivukkah; these don't need a holiday.)

Mashed potato pancakes

If you want to add goodies like chopped garlic, chives, cheese, bacon, or anything, really, go for it.  Mix them into your potatoes before you begin.  Then, use 1/3 cup mashed potatoes to make each pancake: smush them together into a ball, then flatten it to about 3/4 of an inch thick.  Make as many pancakes as you want; I won't judge.  Sprinkle each side with 1/2 teaspoon flour.

Spray a nonstick skillet with a bit of cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.  Wait until the oil is really hot, but not smoking, and then add your pancakes.  Cook them up to 3 minutes per side, until nicely browned.  Use a spatula to press down on them a bit to brown more of the surface area.

Serve with any accoutrements you prefer: I like the simplicity of a sprinkle of chopped fresh rosemary, but they can be phenomenal when topped with traditional latke toppings of sour cream and applesauce.  If you have leftover gravy or cranberry sauce, try that, too.  Your blini will thank you.

1 comment:

  1. Hey friend! Just catching up on your blog, so sweet :) sending it to my pops now :)