Part latke, part Spanish tortilla, these one-bite snacks meet my criteria for good party fare: the pork fat + starch = universal crowd pleaser, the preparation is easy, and best yet, all the elements can be made in advance and assembled at the last minute so you're calm and lovely in your pretty (or handsome) apron in a clean kitchen when guests arrive. And yes, yes, elephant in the room- these are, to steal a phrase from The Gorbals (home of the bacon-wrapped matzo ball), sacrilicious. —arielleclementine
24 small latkes
firm-ripe pear (I like comice), flesh peeled and diced
olive oil (not extra virgin, unless you don't mind a smoky kitchen)
good Spanish chorizo, diced small
medium russet potatoes, peeled and grated (about 3 cups)
large yellow onion, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
Make the pear sauce: put the diced pear in a small frying pan along with a couple of tablespoons of water. Cover, set over medium heat, and cook until a knife inserted into a pear cube slides out easily, about 5 minutes. Puree the cooked pear with a food mill or mash it with a potato masher. Set aside.
Fry the chorizo and make the chorizo oil: Heat the olive oil in a skillet (cast iron if you've got one) over medium heat. Add the diced chorizo and cook, stirring frequently, until the chorizo is crispy. Remove the chorizo with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour the oil into a small heat safe bowl (you will use this to fry the potato pancakes).
Make the potato pancakes: put the grated onion and potatoes in a kitchen towel and squeeze the water out as best you can. Set it down for a few minutes and then squeeze the water out again. Put the drained potato and onion in a medium bowl, add the flour, egg, salt, and pepper, and mix with your hands until the flour and egg are evenly incorporated.
Measure two tablespoons of the chorizo-y olive oil into the skillet you used to fry the chorizo and heat over medium. Using a small portion scoop or rounded tablespoon, scoop bite-sized mounds of the potato pancake mixture into the skillet and flatten lightly. Cook six small pancakes at a time, flipping with a thin offset spatula, until golden and crispy on both sides. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining pancakes, adding an additional 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet for each new batch. Note: at this point you can keep the pancakes warm in a low oven for an hour or so, or you can refrigerate them on a baking sheet and then reheat in a 400 degree oven when your quests arrive.
Assemble the snacks: Top each potato pancake with a small dollop (about 1/2 tsp) of sour cream, a small dollop of the pear puree, a smattering of crispy chorizo cubes, and finally a few whole fresh thyme leaves. Enjoy!
I have always loved food. My favorite books as a kid always featured food (eg. The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmies- so much candy!) and I loved cooking shows like Yan Can Cook and The Frugal Gourmet. I started cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for my family when I was 13 years old. I have food52 to thank for inspiring me to come up with my own recipes, as well as for introducing me to a community of fantastic cooks and their amazing recipes. I try my best to cook locally and seasonally, and I tend to prefer straightforward, simple recipes where the ingredients get to shine. I live in wonderful Austin, Texas with my husband, Andy (a video game programmer) and my son, Henry (an 8-month-old who loves to eat).