Potato Pancakes With Prosciutto

Potato Pancakes from http://roux44.com

You might think potato pancakes are only a Hannukah thing. Or maybe a brunch thing. You might have heard that they’re hard to make right. Or that they’re best topped with applesauce and sour cream.

We’re here to dispell all those myths. Yes, they’re a traditional Hannukah dish and a brunch favorite, but when you make them tiny they’re also one of the best, and cheapest, appetizers around. And although applesauce and sour cream are certainly delicious toppings, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Potatoes, after all, go with just about everything.

And as for hard to make? Not in the least. There’s only one trick: squeeze the grated potatoes in a colander until they’re as dry as possible, so they’ll fry up good and crisp.

We like to serve silver-dollar-sized potato pancakes topped with a simple slice of salty cured meat like proscuitto. Our favorite is the newly released Proscuitto Pacifico from local producer Tails and Trotters. The pigs are finished on a diet of hazelnuts and you can actually taste the incredible nutty, rich flavor in the meat. T&T’s buttery, silky proscuitto was about 10 years in the works and it shows.

Potato Pancakes from http://roux44.com

Mini Potato Pancakes Topped with Proscuitto

Makes about 20

Few hors d’oeuvres are simpler than these little fritters topped with paper-thin slices of proscuitto. If you want to get even fancier, top with a dollop of creme fraiche and caviar, or try adding chopped fresh herbs to the potato mix.

4 medium russet potatoes

4 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Vegetable oil, for frying

½ pound thinly sliced prosciutto, for topping

Peel the potatoes and grate on the large holes of a box grater, or use the grating disk of a food processor. Place grated potatoes in a colander and squeeze for a few minutes to wring out the excess moisture.

In a mixing bowl, combine potatoes, flour and rosemary; season with salt and pepper to taste. Scoop about ¼ cup of the mixture into the palm of your hand and pat into a flat cake. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Place a saute pan over medium-high heat and add enough oil to generously cover the bottom.  When hot, fry the cakes in batches until golden on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip the cakes carefully and fry the other side until golden. Place on paper towels to drain.

Serve warm, topped with thinly-sliced meat.

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