To the chagrin of my parents, I listed the potato as my favorite vegetable for a second grade assignment. I loved how it could be fried into a chip or crisped into french fries or whipped into pillowy softness. At the time, I didn’t know exactly how to explain it, but nowadays, I would say that it is versatile. In fact, I recently made it into a complete meal, taking a cue from my Jewish friends, by frying it into a potato pancake (latke), but I topped it with a fresh tomato-basil salad and sour cream.
Summertime Potato Pancakes, serves 2 for supper and 4 as a side dish
1 lb of yukon gold potatoes
1/2 medium onion
1/2 cup of corn
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Olive oil for frying
2 tomatoes, diced
1 small bunch of basil leaves, chiffonaded
1 tbsp of champagne vinegar
3 tbsp of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Stir together the diced tomatoes, basil, champagne vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper and set aside to let the flavors mix.
Shred the potatoes and onion in a food processor, using the larger shredding disc. You can do this by hand, too, but the food processor makes it go much faster. Pour the shredded potatoes and onions onto a kitchen cloth, roll it all up and squeeze out as much liquid as you can–exercise before the meal! Unroll the potatoes and onions into a bowl and mix in the corn, egg and salt.
Preheat your oven to 200F. Place a rack with a baking sheet underneath it onto the middle shelf. You can skip the oven part if you don’t mind having them at room temperature, which is what I did since it was already warm enough in my home.
Cover the bottom of a nonstick pan with olive oil and heat on medium. When the oil is nice and hot, drop in large spoonfuls of the potato mixture, flattening each pile with the back of the spoon. You want to have strands sticking out because those will crisp up. When the edges start browning, flip the pancakes (5 minutes per side). Once both sides have browned nicely and the center has cooked, move the pancakes into the oven, wipe or scrap up the bits on to a plate (snacks for the cook) and begin your next batch.
When the pancakes are ready. Place two on a plate, dollop on some sour cream and spoon on the tomato-basil mixture.