I had never even heard of potato pancakes until high school. My first boyfriend was Jewish, and his mom graciously invited me to participate in what, if memory serves, was her Rosh Hashanah celebration. I’m pretty sure I made a fool of myself diving head first into the plate of amazing pancakes smeared with a healthy dollop of sour cream and (who knew?) applesauce. For me, those first beautiful cakes are still the potato pancakes against which all others will forever be judged.
It took me years to decide to make my own, and when I first did, they turned out badly. I made them too big, I was fidgety about turning them, and as a result always tried to turn them too soon or too much. Potato pancakes became something that I would only make on very special occasions.
Today, I know better. I whipped up a small batch for the kids for lunch this past weekend, and the whole deal took me a total of fifteen minutes from washing the potatoes to serving the kids. Of course, what I threw together doesn’t hold a candle to the holiday cakes that I remember from high school, but it’s nice to have a simpler option that doesn’t have to be a whole production, and makes a nice change from the usual sandwich routine. Cosmo was gleeful to finally have permission to dip something in his cup of applesauce.
Everyday Potato Pancakes
1 C grated potato, water squeezed out
1 heaping Tbs flour
salt and pepper – a healthy amount
1/4 C peanut oil
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Stir together potato, egg, flour, and salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, scoop little circles of batter into the pan – this recipe will make exactly 8 small cakes (perfect for two small kids to eat two each, and their parents to snack on some as well). Cook for 2 – 3 minutes per side. Serve with applesauce.