Like many with English heritage -- my grandfather was born in East London within sound of the bow bells of St Mary-le-Bow, making him 'Cockney' by geography if little else -- a feast of pancakes is traditional on Shrove Tuesday, the eve of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent in the Christian tradition.
This year I opted -- of course! -- for pancakes with vegetables and a first-ever attempt at potato pancakes. Unfortunately, I chose a recipe without much care, one better titled "potato patties" (that is, potato and onion but no "cake") rather than the imagined cakey disks infused with grated potato and onion.
So I improvised ... ... and the pancakes were decent but extremely difficult to brown and still more difficult to remove from the pan. The good news is that I can try again: you see, pancakes are traditional.
NUTRITION NOTES ... These were filling. One pancake was plenty with the full complement of bacon, sour cream and applesauce.
FROM THE ARCHIVES ... There are other "vegetable patties" (without the cake) in the Recipe Box, including Beet Roesti and Zucchini Timbale and also an interesting spinach jelly roll.
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Hands-on time: about 15 minutes? oops, lost track!
Time to table: 30 minutes
Makes 4 medium pancakes
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 onion, grated
3/4 pound russet potato, peeled and grated and liquid pressed out with a paper towel (don't do this in advance, it'll turn a nasty color)
Whisk the egg, flour and buttermilk. Add the onion and potato, stirring til just combined but no more. Melt a tablespoon of bacon grease in a large skillet (a stainless skillet was miserable, a non-stick skillet some less miserable but still not easy) until it's so hot that drops of water sizzle when dropped onto the skillet. Spoon the potato into the skillet (I could only do two at a time). Press with a spatula to even the mixture and use the tip to even out the edges. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes or until brown. Turn over and cook the other side.
Serve with bacon, sour cream and apple sauce.
Per Pancake: 140 Cal (32% from Fat, 14% from Protein, 54% from Carb); 5 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 2 g Sat Fat; 19 g Carb; 1 g Fiber; NetCarb18; 56 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 75 mg Sodium; 66 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 3 points
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT'S DUE
Adapted from Epicurious December 2005