There is a small part of me that borders on the embarrassed when I caveat a recipe with an apology for it’s simplicity.
But why, in terms of cooking, should simplicity even be scorned?
Surely that’s what we’re looking for, right? Recipes that require the least amount of skill, the least amount of time, the least amount of recipes but deliver on the maximum amount of flavour?
Well here they are. Literally… it’s a fried, grated potato. And it’s wonderful.
Gloriously rich, crunchy in texture yet somehow delicately light at the same time, these starchy little throwing stars are the perfect little dish that uses none of your time but does get rid of that one random potato sulking in your Kitchen.
I’ve been grating potatoes and frying them for quite some time but I was inspired by Gizzi Erskine to hold back a little of the starch from the drained out liquid to help bind all of the potato together so these little beauties took on a new life of their own.
I altered her recipe a little bit, opting out of the whisking of an egg white (I don’t have that kind of energy in the morning) and swap the matzoh meal for flour, but the jist is generally the same.
And while I usually drape my potato rostis with some form of wobbling, bursting-at-the-seams egg, I was even further inspired by Erksine and opted for a voluptuous dribble of sour cream. I then topped this with a cumin studded mango chutney and had never been happier.
Finely chop up an onion as small as you have strength for (I went for a shallot) and fry it in a little butter until it softens. Remove off the heat and allow to cool a little.
Grate a potato – I didn’t bother peeling – and put the grated potato in a sieve over a jug. Using your hands, squeeze out all of the water from the potato, and use a spoon or a rubber spatula to push as much moisture out as you can.
Take the jug of gross potato water and slowly pour out the thin brownish liquid but stop when you get to the pale, greyish paste at the bottom of the jug. This is the starch you need.
To the jug of starch put your potatoes shreds back in followed by the onions. Add an egg yolk, two tablespoons of flour, some salt and pepper and if you wanted you could add a little spicing if you wanted. Some cumin and paprika would be lovely.
Mix everything together.
Now preheat your oven to 200c, line a baking tray with some baking parchment and heat a little olive oil in a pan.
When the oil’s hot, spoon a tablespoon of the mixture into it and using the back of the spoon, spread it so that it sits a little thinner. Do this maybe three or four times in the pan, depending how big your pan is.
You want to fry this batter for roughly 3 or 4 minutes each side but don’t worry if they still look slightly underdone in the middle because we’re finishing them off in the oven.
After they’ve had their time in the pan, carefully move them over to your lined baking tray and slip in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes to crisp up and finish in the middle.
Drizzle and dollop with condiments of your choice and chow down.