My love for the scent and taste of nutmeg in an Alfredo sauce inspired me to flavor these potato pancakes. The light interior keeps together with a little potato starch in place of egg, panko in the place of flour and a bit of heavy cream; they have a definite mild burst of leek, nutmeg and carrot, for its sweetness and color.
The starchy Yukon Gold is ideal for crispiness; the shredded potato is squeezed of excess moisture, the pancakes are formed small - around 3 inches, and they are fried only after the oil is ready in a skillet that retains heat well. I like to add a pat of butter to the oil because; after all, what's Alfredo without the taste of butter! The exterior is golden brown with a darker, crunchy, jagged edge and then sprinkled with Parmigiano Reggiano right after they come off the heat.
A yogurt-cream sauce, in place of sour cream, is seasoned to compliment the pancakes. A lively addition to any meal, these can be cooked ahead, cooled and then reheated in a warm oven, but are better when served immediately. – lapadia —lapadia
Test Kitchen Notes
These lovely little potato pancakes are light, flavorful and downright tasty. We particularly like how the mild flavors of the leek and grated carrot don’t overwhelm the Yukon Golds. Lapadia’s clever technique of using the collected potato starch as a binder, instead of egg, prevents the pancakes from being too heavy. Crispy on the outside, soft and fragrant on the inside, then topped with a bit of cheese and a touch of tangy yogurt, these are simply delightful. I made two batches, substituting potato flakes for the panko in the second, to create a wheat-free version, which worked well. Great recipe!! ;o) —AntoniaJames
2 tablespoons potato starch (residue left after soaking and draining the potato water)
2 cups combined - finely chopped leeks and shredded carrots
3 tablespoons heavy whip cream
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper (or cayenne or an extra kick)
1/4 cup panko (or less, judged by feeling for a mixture that holds loosely together)
Safflower oil (or cannola)
Pats of unsalted butter
Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh micro plane grated - for sprinkling on top
YOGURT CREAM SAUCE
1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
3 tablespoon heavy whip cream
Fresh ground Nutmeg – to taste
White pepper – to taste (or cayenne for an extra kick)
In This Recipe
Wash & peel the potatoes, shred them with the big holes of a box grater, let sit in a bowl of ice cold water to keep from browning while preparing other ingredients.
Slice the white and tender green of leeks and chop finely. Shred a carrot; combine with the chopped leeks to make 2 cups – set aside until needed.
Do not discard the potato water, yet, but do squeeze as much water as possible from the shredded potatoes by twisting in a clean thin dish towel or by using a potato ricer – my favorite way to do this.
Place the squeezed potatoes in a large bowl.
Pour out the potato water collecting 2 tablespoons of the starchy residue found at the bottom; whisk the cream and starch together - toss into the shredded potatoes.
Add in the leeks, carrots, nutmeg, salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons (half) the panko; toss and feel for a mixture that holds together - loosely...add more panko if needed, but you shouldn't need to.
Cook the pancakes in batches; heat oil & a pat of butter, 1/4-inch depth, in a large skillet. Then, leaving the edges jagged, drop 3 inch circles of the potato mixture into the hot oil. Lightly flatten with a fork for even thickness, but, be careful - flattening too hard will result in a dense pancake.
Brown on one side and then turn and brown on the other side. Add more oil and a pat of butter as necessary to maintain depth, be sure to let the extra oil get hot before continuing.
After each batch of pancakes have cooked, place them in single layer on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Place the baking sheet into an oven heated on a low temperature to keep warm.
Immediately sprinkle each batch with Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Serve warm, garnished with the yogurt-cream sauce below.
YOGURT CREAM SAUCE
Mix all the ingredients together. Refrigerate until needed.