Scallion Potato Pancakes with Vinegar Cream

By • April 22, 2014 • 21 Comments



Author Notes: This is a very simple traditional Swiss dish called rösti, with the addition of scallions. The potatoes should be boiled the night before, which makes this dish very quick to pull together -- and absolutely great for breakfast. The cream topping is inspired by The French Laundry Cookbook, p.64. I made it my own by adding tarragon, scallions, and garlic.Silly Apron

Food52 Review: Grüezi! This is a delightful, if somewhat unorthodox, take on rösti. The directions for the potato preparation are great (read: trust the author), although somewhat surprising if you're not Swiss-German. I might add a fried egg next time to make this a complete meal, but I'll take this any day over the original ham-and-cheese version.minipanda

Serves 2

Scallion Potato Pancakes

  • 1 russet potato, large
  • 1/2 cup scallions, green and white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons duck fat
  1. Boil potato for 30 minutes, or until it's tender when pierced with a knife, but still offers a bit of resistance. Remove the potato from the water, place on a plate, and cover with a kitchen towel. That's it for tonight!
  2. The next day, peel the potato. Grate the potato into a large bowl, using the largest holes on your box grater.
  3. Coat the scallions with the melted butter. Add in the potatoes, season with salt and freshly ground white pepper, and combine everything gently with a fork.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of the duck fat in a small cast iron skillet (or fry pan) over medium heat. When melted, the fat should entirely coat the bottom of the pan. Spread half of the potato mixture out into a circle, pressing slightly on the edges to shape the pancake. Turn down the heat and let cook for about 5 minutes, until the bottom is browned and crisp.
  5. Place a flat plate upside down over the pan (the plate should be larger than the pan). With one hand on the pan handle and the other on top of the plate, quickly flip the pan to transfer the pancake onto the plate.
  6. Place the pan back on the heat and add 1/2 tablespoon more duck fat. Once the fat is melted, slide the pancake back into the pan, browned side up, and let cook for 5 more minutes. Transfer pancake to plate when finished.
  7. Make the second pancake following the same method. Serve hot.

Vinegar Cream

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 scallion, dark green part only, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  1. Whisk the cream until it thickens, then fold in the vinegar. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined. Serve with pancakes.
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3 months ago Jan Kraslawsky

This information puts my mind at ease; I'm going to try your method with O'Brien and bacon grease. Sounds great! Thanks so much.

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3 months ago Luvtocook

I've been making potato pancakes for over 60 years and the idea of cooking the potato in advance is NOT the way I learned from my German mother and grandmother. Also, as a last minute timesaver, I've discovered that premade O'Brien Potatoes (sold in a green bag at my supermarket and chopped into smaller pieces) can be substituted for grated potatoes. Add several eggs along with some flour or matzoh meal and fry in a cast iron skillet. Unhealthy as it is, I keep bacon grease in my freezer for kartoffel pfannkuchen. A friend who still eats bacon gives it to me. I don't know about duck fat, but bacon grease is what my mother and grandmother ALWAYS used. Yummy! (Canola oil works, too.)

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8 days ago JohnL

I have a couple of traditional Swiss cookbooks, and they seem to call for either butter or lard for Rosti. My favorite potato pancakes are from a cookbook written by Diane Rossen Worthington, and they're made in the food processor (steel blade, not shredded) so the "batter" is prepared in one step. Super crispy and puffy and moist & light within and beautiful to behold. She often includes a variation of her fabulous potato pancakes in several of her many cookbooks, so I think they must be a signature dish of hers.

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4 months ago Jan Kraslawsky

Thanks, Silly Apron; you sound so brave!

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4 months ago Jane

Thanks Silly Apron!

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4 months ago Silly Apron

Radcliffe, Bunny, Jane - Please watch this video, I think it will answer some of your questions: https://www.youtube.com...

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4 months ago callen34

If for no other reason, you should cook a duck now and then to render the fat for frying potatoes. It is an awesome combination. Of course, you can enjoy eating the duck, too. :)

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4 months ago Silly Apron

Lol...I am still waiting for the day when I'll be brave enough to try cooking a duck! :)

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4 months ago callen34

A good duck recipe to start with is one I found on the food network web site several years ago. Just Google "Chinatown Steamed and Roasted Duck" and you should find it. The steaming renders the fat before you put the duck in the oven. Also be sure to score the fat all over with a knife before you steam the duck. It helps drain the fat, too. Delicious!

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4 months ago Silly Apron

So far I had success with all Tyler Florence's recipes! I might try this for Thanksgiving, thanks for sharing.

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8 days ago JohnL

I have used an old recipe for roast duck from Craig Claiborne (New York Times) many times with great success. If you like your duck super crispy, and the meat cooked through (no pink) but moist and fork tender (almost like pot roast) this is a recipe you might want to try. And it's truly easy to make. Just be careful when turning the duck because it renders a lot of fat and you don't want to burn yourself. Preheat oven to 450. Remove neck/giblets/etc. (I discard these or save for stock). Season inside & out with S&P. Remove chunks of fat from inside tail (you can just pull it off with your fingers. If you like, stuff with a small peeled onion, a peeled garlic clove, 2 sprigs parsley, 1/4 tsp thyme, 1 bay leaf (I don't bother with stuffing because I usually make an orange sauce to go with this recipe). Pam a sturdy roasting pan. Roast duck on its side for 30 mins. (nonstick is OK too if yours can withstand the heat). Remove duck to a plate, pour out the rendered fat, return duck to oven on the other side and roast 30 mins. Drain again. REDUCE HEAT TO 350. Continue roasting at 350 for one hour. DONE! That's all there is to it. I have even used this duck for Peking it is so crispy. If I want to get fancy, I let the duck cool, then cut it in half and carefully de-bone except for wings). This can be done hours ahead (or even chilled & covered several days ahead). Duck is surprisingly (IMO) re-heatable when cooked this way. Reheat under a hot broiler for about 5 mins to re-crisp the skin. This makes for an especially elegant presentation for duck a l'orange. Sometimes the drumstick dries out a little, but its a small price to pay when the rest of the duck is so good, and if you serve each person a half duck, it's still a generous portion even without that drumstick!

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8 days ago JohnL

I forgot to say that you roast the duck on its back for the final hour. The reason I spray the pan with Pam is that I have occasionally had a duck stick and its a mess if the skin is ripped off when turning the duck.

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4 months ago Radcliffe

Just a ? Why overnight the potato?

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4 months ago Jan Kraslawsky

That's my question....
Can another fat be substituted?

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4 months ago Bunny

Thanks, I'll try the oil & butter combo, or maybe even bacon fat, although that might change the flavor.

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4 months ago Silly Apron

Bacon fat sounds good, but the flavor might be too strong. You should try it and let us know, if you have time :)

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4 months ago Jane

Can you just flip the pancakes over in the pan instead of doing the dish step? Maybe hold pancake on spatula and add more fat before returning to pan?

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4 months ago Silly Apron

I think the potatoes will fall apart, unless your pancake is very small.

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4 months ago Silly Apron

I bought mine from Whole Foods in the poultry section. You can maybe try half vegetable oil/ half butter. Heat the oil first then add the butter just before you spread the potato mixture.

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4 months ago Bunny

I would make these right now if I had duck fat, but that isn't something I keep on hand. I'm guessing that many people might not have it around. Can another fat be substituted?

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8 days ago JohnL

I used duck fat one time for potato pancakes (I had saved rendered fat from roast duck) and though I REALLY like duck, I thought cooking potatoes in duck fat made for an unpleasantly strong/gamey flavor. But to each his own!